The ability to return items purchased online is a promise applauded by customers and used as a selling point by almost all ecommerce sellers, but the logistical management of returns can be a headache and entails significant costs. Therefore, knowing how to manage returns is essential to the customer experience.
Identify the reason for the return to organize flows
As with shipments, each return logistics flow involves a cost: storage, transport, labor… However, the logistics processes to be implemented will depend on the type of return.
Focusing on real time to limit the stock on hand
One of the strategies that can be implemented to limit still stock is, for example, to mark the product that the customer wishes to return as “available in stock”. From that moment on, the product is put back on sale on the online platform, avoiding stocking actions.
Limiting the cost of processing unannounced returns
In reverse logistics, unannounced returns are unidentified returns, often arriving without a label or document allowing precise recognition of the original order and customer.
Optimize control and re-stocking processes
When a returned item arrives, it must be checked manually to ensure that it is the correct product and whether or not the item and its packaging are in good condition. To this end, tools should be made available to operators to enable them, if necessary, to open a dispute with customer service easily and quickly (e.g., a camera or a mobile device such as a tablet or phone).
Promote local return channels
Another option to gain efficiency is to have returned products not systematically sent to the warehouse, but redirected to physical distribution channels. This requires a logistics information system designed to provide full, real-time visibility of the entire supply chain.
In short, the returns policy is a cornerstone of ecommerce management. Not only is it a legal obligation, but it is also a determining factor in providing a good shopping experience for customers.