With the rise of e-commerce in the retail sector, the rate of returns has increased manifold over the past decade. As retailers are now forced to implement customer-friendly returns policies, the high returns handling costs and other challenges of reverse logistics can give retailers a tough time. Reverse logistics often proves to be particularly challenging due to factors including uneven product quality, lack of clarity over disposition options, and erratic inventory management practices. One of the key challenges of reverse logistics here is that it takes almost a dozen steps more to process returns that it does to manage reverse logistics. In this article, experts at Infiniti have curated some key strategies to ensure an optimal reverse logistics process.
Reverse logistics strategies for retailers
Kiosks for omnichannel returns
The proliferation of omni-channel retail is one of the main reasons why retailers are in the need to enable omni-channel return processes in their business. Top retailers are even going to the extent of opening small kiosks to return goods that have been sold online. The returned products are then sent to a regional processing hub, followed by the retailer’s fulfillment centers, and finally the goods reach third-party logistics companies or liquidators.
This is a reverse logistics technique that is used for the secondary sales of the merchandise that has been returned by a customer. In the case of B2B returns, implementing a private auction space for returns liquidation ensures greater visibility and control over processes. It also helps retailers identify and work on performance improvement gaps.
Real-time processing of returned inventory
In the case of returns, the speed of liquidations is the deciding factor for the level of value recovered. When the goods returned are processed in real time, retailers can ensure value maximization from the merchandise returns.
Flexible return portions
Just like the purchase process, retailers must aim to make the returns process hassle-free and as easy as possible. This can be achieved by giving customers the opportunity to process their returns through on-demand mail or even collection and drop-off at a store in the convenient location. This kind of flexible return options will help retailers increase their online sales and gain a delighted and loyal customer base.
Liberal returns policy
Although a liberal returns policy is essential, several retailers have already begun reevaluating their returns policy. The recurring new product drops are one of the major reasons why retailers are taking such steps. Many retailers are even cutting short the period of return from 90 days to 35 days. Such strict measures will also reduce the return of used or post-purchase damaged returns.
Source: Infiniti Research