Make BORIS a Breeze: 4 Ways Reverse Logistics Supports Buy Online, Return in Store

3PL, Ecommerce, Manufacturing, Point of View, Retail
A woman returning an item she bought at a store

Consumers overwhelmingly love to shop online. But making returns online? Not so much. In fact, Forrester found that 41 percent of survey respondents think online returns are difficult and more than half of them prefer in-store returns.

Because of its ease, buying-online-returning-in-store (BORIS) is a preferred returns method for many shoppers (and something Amazon knew years ago when it first allowed returns at Kohl’s stores). Besides making the returns process a breeze – no need for a customer to wait on a return authorization, pay shipping fees or hunt down a box to mail back – BORIS gets people into a brick-and-mortar store, immersed in a brand, and purchasing more items.

BORIS can also be a cost savings for brands, as it’s typically more expensive to manage a returned item received in the mail than one returned to a physical location. Designating alternate return locations can also relieve pressure on a stressed labor force, whether in a store or a warehouse.

Enabling a BORIS offering for your online or ecommerce business requires a hybrid of processes that are supported by reverse logistics technology that is truly omnichannel.

Making BORIS work for you
BORIS capabilities can’t be seamlessly offered with just any reverse logistics software – and certainly not with a warehouse management system (WMS). Only a returns management system (RMS) can provide the standardized workflows and location flexibility you need to create a reliable, efficient network of returns locations.

To optimize a BORIS offering here are four capabilities your RMS should excel in…

One tech platform, many return locations
No matter the return location, everyone – in a store, in a warehouse or at a third-party location – should be working off the same omnichannel, multi-lingual technology platform for consistency and efficiency.

Return-on-behalf-of (ROBO) capabilities of an RMS allow you to add locations as authorized return points, yet all employees can work from the same platform with customizable permissions and authorizations.

Your brand keeps control with total visibility into the returns data from each location, and can coordinate with partners to ensure productivity and service goals are met.

Furthermore, an RMS in-store app allows a store employee to look up a customer order, initiate the return and complete an inspection in just a few minutes. Customers get an instant credit or refund – and the freedom to drop off a return wherever you allow it.

Robust policy and rules engine

An RMS guides employees through receiving, inspecting, grading and refunding returned items. Rules and parameters direct the employee on how to process the return, when and how to send it for repair, send to a WMS, or recycle it, etc.

Specific workflow and inspection tasks can be configured to company objectives and by item brand, significantly improving automation and lessening the chance of human error.

Supporting sustainability
BORIS options aren’t just easy for the customer and a good cost-savings for a business: they can be an important part of your supply chain sustainability plan.

Packageless returns in a store eliminate the need for boxes or bags that your company ultimately becomes responsible for throwing way or recycling. Your customers likely want packageless options too: 87 percent of Amazon shoppers in the U.S., U.K. and Canada said online retailers should reduce their use of plastic packaging. Another option with a returns management system: Offer an incentive for returns made to a local store rather than a pick-up that requires a gas-guzzling delivery vehicle to come to a customer’s house.

Once the item is at the store or at the warehouse, your configured RMS rules can reflect sustainability goals, such as prioritizing recycling or setting strict parameters for alternative circular options for an item.

Inventory visibility
With supply chains in disarray and labor in short supply, returned items have more value than ever because they are a potential, viable sale. An RMS provides real-time inventory tracking so you know how many of which product are at which location. Rules and policies direct employees on whether to keep the returned item for resell, ship it to another location, or dispose of it another way.

A network of return locations isn’t helpful if they each operate as a silo. By working off one platform, your enterprise organization gains a truly omnichannel, multi-lingual returns experience and visibility into product returns data, no matter the location.

Learn more about the ReverseLogix platform