Right now the volume of online business is accelerating—as more people are staying inside, they are shopping online for everything from household essentials to some less-than-essential items that will keep them busy. Inevitably the increase in goods sold online will probably also show up as an increase in returned merchandise from consumers.
If you are a company that sells items online, now is the time to focus on your reverse logistics strategy—that is, your strategy around how you will handle these returns to maximize profit and minimize waste. If you don’t have a strategy right now, chances are your business is losing money in ways that you don’t need to when something gets returned to your store. If you don’t offer returns because you’re worried about how it will impact your bottom line, consider that you are probably also losing customers to your competitors who offer returns, so a reverse logistics strategy can help you bring in more sales.
Where to Begin
Whether you are new to the returns game entirely or you just want to improve your reverse logistics process, the first place to begin is internally. You need to have a solid process in place that is followed with every return to ensure that you are maximizing the value of each item when it comes back to your store. That could be reselling it, recycling it, putting it on a clearance or other sale, returning it to the vendor, or selling it to a third party at a discount.
Streamline and Strategize
One of the best things you can do to improve reverse logistics is to have software that will allow you to efficiently manage the process from start to finish. Contrary to popular belief, reverse logistics is more than just a customer return. It includes:
- Return Materials Authorization (RMA) initiated by the customer
- Tracking the package back to your warehouse or facility
- Repairing and sending it back to the client (in warranty cases)
- Restocking the item for resale if possible
- Returning it to the vendor if the return was for an applicable reason (like a defect)
- Recycling or discarding the item
- Refunding the customer or providing a store credit
You can’t streamline this process without software to help. When you use a reverse logistics software program you can connect all these pieces together to track items from the moment the customer alerts you they are unhappy through the moment that they get the product back or get their refund, and up to the point where you resell or discard the returned item.
Get Started Today
Numerous studies reveal that customers prefer to shop at a place that offers returns, so start with a reverse logistics platform that can help you create and manage the process with good data to continue improving. Call ReverseLogix today to learn more about the software we offer.