How to Lower the Cost of Returns and Improve Your Reverse Logistics

 In Industry News

Reverse logistics has become an area where companies are striving to improve the experience for the customer, manage costs, and set themselves apart from the competition. The goal of any company is to make a profit, and logistics managers understand that customer returns can have as big an impact on profits as almost anything else.

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Transcript:

Welcome to the Transportation Impact Audio Blog. Our mission is to provide shippers, like you, actionable tips and advice to help lower logistics costs in every part of your business. Did you know Transportation Impact can tell you what your shipping costs should be to within 1/10 of 1% guaranteed? We have the market data to know precisely what a shipper like you could be paying and the expertise to help you negotiate those markets’ appropriate rates. Visit TransportationImpact.com to learn more.

How to lower the cost of returns and improve your reverse logistics
written by Berkley Stafford

Reverse logistics has become an area where companies are striving to improve the experience for the customer, manage costs, and set themselves apart from the competition. The goal of any company is to make a profit, and logistics managers understand that customer returns can have as big an impact on profits as almost anything else.

The growing online marketplace is fueling greater interest in the subject of returns management. While returns are part of any business, ecommerce customers are more likely than B2B customers to return orders, often because they have not seen or tried the product first hand. Here are some ideas for how online retailers can make the best of the inevitable challenge of customer returns.

Product details

On the front end, there are many sales and marketing considerations that affect return rates. One of the most common reasons that customers return products is because they don’t understand how to use the product or were expecting something different. During the sales process providing the customer with detailed information about the product, in the form of videos, enhanced product images, and 360 degree views will help customers understand exactly what they are purchasing. User reviews are another way to give customers confidence and greater understanding about their purchases before they make them.

Checks and balances

Your distribution center provides another opportunity to prevent returns. The more QC checks that are in place to ensure that accuracy and quality of orders, the less chance of receiving items back. Products should be checked for damage, cleanliness, or broken parts. Being sure that packaging, bar code and paperwork are correct means that the customers will receive what they have ordered.

Technology

Technology for managing a warehouse and shipping efficiency such as with carrier selection is a given for online retailers today. But technology for managing the reverse logistics process is important too. The right tool can help track returns in addition to all the documentation that goes along with them. The right system will make sure the returned product is handled correctly, helping to keep inventory counts accurate and ensure proper disposition of the items.

Return policy

A balanced return policy that fits your customers needs, as well as your business’s, can reduce the number of returns and maintain profit margins. A policy that is too customer friendly can lead to more returns in the future, because customers know that they can buy more and they do not need to keep the items. At the same time, a returns policy that is too tight making it very difficult for customers to return items is off putting and can result in a hit in sales. A balanced approach will keep margins intact, while ensuring customers still feel valued— a winning situation for a company.

Customer support

An educated customer service team is essential in reducing and preventing returns. Many people return products that they do not know how to use, or because they could not get their questions about the products answered. Customer support staff that can provide useful or technical information to consumers via phone, email, and chat, will frequently prevent returns. The key is to be accessible to the customers via the means of communication that they prefer. Creating a smooth return experience can increase the number of repeat customers and referrals through word of mouth and social media.

Online retailers who view returns as an opportunity are more successful because they use it as a chance to strengthen both their brand and the relationship with the customer.

Thank you for listening. For a free, no obligation, analysis of your logistics spend visit TransportationImpact.com. Have a great day!

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