The conversations surrounding relevant reverse logistics issues focus heavily on best practices of returns management to control this element of the reverse business cycle. We talk much less, however, about the viability of a returns avoidance strategy.

This disparity is indicative of a blind acceptance – across every industry and sector – that returns are what they are, and our only option is to manage them as effectively as possible.

Is a discussion about how to minimize or avoid returns long overdue?

Can You Minimize or Avoid Returns Without Impacting Sales?

Many businesses believe that the only way to avoid returns is to implement restrictive returns policies. After all, if you don’t allow customers to make returns, you won’t have to worry about it, right?

On the surface, this is a valid assumption but, if you look beyond the simple yes-or-no question, you begin to see the flaws of this approach.

Today’s consumers – especially in the e-commerce realm – become much less willing to purchase if they don’t have the option to return products. So, although you won’t have to worry as much about this potential black hole of costs if you implement restrictive returns policies, you are likely to find your sales dropping accordingly.

An Organic Approach to Returns Avoidance

Implementing restrictive returns policies damages the customer experience and diminishes the willingness to purchase. Fortunately, you can avoid taking off-putting measures and still reduce returns by adopting a more organic approach.

Restrictive policies are a lot like treating the symptoms of a physical illness without ever looking for an underlying cause of the problem. To address this problem more effectively, it’s necessary to look deeper into the reasons that customers are returning their purchases.

Let’s explore some examples.

If customers are returning one specific product more often than others that you sell, the problem could be related to price point, quality issues, or even something as simple as not having adequate photos or product descriptions of that product on your e-commerce site. If you’re getting a higher incidence of product failure or warranty replacement claims, perhaps you could make improvements in the product’s design or the materials used in the manufacturing process.

The first step in implementing an organic or holistic returns avoidance strategy is finding an effective means for identifying the cause(s), rather than simply treating the symptoms.

Using Reverse Logistics to Avoid Returns

As with most business- and commerce-oriented problems we encounter today, a robust set of data offers an effective means of identifying viable solutions.

Tracking and monitoring the reverse business cycle can provide quick answers to some of your most pressing returns problems. Using this information, you can identify the reasons that are driving your returns – or at least understand where you need to drill down and research – and identify ways to address them.

Gathering the data you need to accomplish this doesn’t have to be an arduous or costly process. Implementing a reverse logistics technology solution like ReverseLogix can put this valuable intel in your hands quickly and effectively. In addition to providing the BI you need, you can improve the customer experience, maximize your asset recovery and turn your reverse business into a profit center.

Contact us today for a free demo of our comprehensive SaaS reverse logistics platform.