Still Recovering from the Holiday Returns Crush?

A mini-figurine of a man pulling a large box.

Next Steps that Can Improve Your Reverse Logistics for 2021

If you are one of the millions of businesses that had to quickly pivot from in-person sales to offering at least some items online for purchase during the holiday shopping season of 2020, you’re not alone. One of the things that many businesses learned—especially those that had not been selling much online prior to the pandemic—is the high volume of returns that you will experience when you sell online.

While in-person retail stores have about an 8-10% return rate, online shops can see returns as high as 40%. In the midst of COVID, that number was expected to be extremely high as people purchased more items to make sure they got the holiday gifts they wanted and needed on time. Some of the world’s largest retailers—Target and Walmart among them—had a policy to allow some people to just keep the items rather than returning them because of the high cost. For many smaller businesses (and even medium-size ones) that’s not a financially viable option. If returns from the holidays were difficult for you this year, here are a few steps you can take now to prepare for future years.

Step 1: Review your data.

One of the most valuable things companies can do is look at the information they have about returns to try and minimize return rates as much as possible. If you don’t already have a reverse logistics software program in place that helps you track and analyze your data, now is a good time to think about getting one. Things to look at include:

  • Return frequency
  • Reasons for returns
  • Cost per item to return
  • Staff costs to process returns

This information allows you to identify areas to improve and reduce future returns.

Step 2: Create simple processes for customers.

One of the most important things you can do is make it easy for your customers to initiate a return and make it easy for your staff to track those returns. Return materials authorization (RMA) software allows your customers to quickly start their return online and allows you to track it back to your store or warehouse and back into circulation or disposition.

Step 3: Use software to your advantage.

You know how important it is to have software that processes sales, and if you don’t already have the same level of efficient software to process returns you are losing money. Reverse logistics software allows you to create a returns process that mirrors your forward logistics in terms of your ability to track, analyze, evaluate, and cut costs.

Find out more about how software from ReverseLogix can create a more efficient and less costly online shopping process for your business today and be ready for the inevitable future where online shopping is the norm.