Solving the Expensive Problem of E-Commerce Returns with Reverse Logistics

Solving the Expensive Problem of E-Commerce Returns with Reverse Logistics

In 2018, retailers in the United States lost over $351 billion in sales to merchandise returns.  The convenience of e-commerce return options will force this number to climb, and retailers must determine how best to meet this complex challenge.  Not only is mitigating the missed sales important, but your return process can impact your brand's reputation.  In fact, in a recent ComScore study, 85% of customers said they would not order from a retailer if their return process was inconvenient.  Inversely, 95% of customers will maintain a relationship with a brand that offers simple returns.  Here are a few of the benefits that accompany an optimized reverse logistics plan.

Lower Costs

As stated earlier -- free freight, receiving, repacking, reconditioning, restocking, and reselling a previously sold product is expensive.  Tracking the total cost of ownership of an item can help you measure how much you are actually spending to process a return.  The more efficiently a returned product moves into and out of your supply chain, the greater the impact to your bottom line.

Increased Sustainability

When unnecessary transportation is eliminated and processes to reuse, resell, or recycle products and materials are identified, a positive impact on the environment will be the result.  Having all returns go to a central location, reusing and recylcing packaging materials, adjusting shipping schedules, and consolidating reverse logistics activities can all mitigate unnecessary costs while enhancing sustainability initiatives.

Enhanced Customer Service and Brand Reputation

Getting consumers to purchase your product is half of the battle.  If there is an issue that requires an item to be returned, your reverse logistics operations can go a long way in representing your organization in a positive light.  With the right technology and business processes in place, you can make the returns process a competitive advantage for your brand.

With more buying options for consumers and increasing competition, reverse logistics needs to be a priority.  Barrett Distribution Centers creates and operates customized supply chain and fulfillment solutions for B2B and B2C brands.