The ecommerce sector is experiencing rapid growth but as it develops, consumer demand for better service is increasing. Customers want delivery of their purchases to be quick and cheap and returns to be simple and free.
This increase in service expectations brings is a challenge for both online and omnichannel retailers.
At least 30% of products purchased online are returned, compared with just 9% in bricks-and-mortar stores[i], and customers don’t want to pay for the return delivery – no matter the reason for returning. However, dealing with returns can be a very costly process for retailers if not managed properly.
Interestingly, 67% of shoppers visit retailers’ returns pages to carefully scrutinise the options offered[ii]. Often, if they can’t identify a clear returns policy, they will abandon their basket, resulting in a potential loss of sales.
As retailers work to improve their returns processes, they not only unlock a potential increase in sales and turnover but they should also expect and plan for a rise in the number of returns.
Fashion retailers are already tightening the rules, weighing risks and opportunity and taking steps to avoid exploitation of the rules by customers.
Despite its challenges, getting your reverse logistics strategy right will reward you with new customers and increased brand loyalty – 92% of customers will buy again from the same retailer if their returns process is easy[iii].
If you’re delivering a pain-free returns process, you’re building trust and credibility with your customers and they’re likely to order with you again.
But in order to minimise costs it is vital that you optimise the value of returned items by making them available to the market again as quickly as possible.
Managing your supply chain
So how do you achieve a well-managed and efficient returns policy which makes you stand out?
It’s all about gaining a deeper insight into the processes, roles and associated costs involved in delivering and returning orders placed online.
This transparency will give visibility to customers of where their returns are and when to expect a refund. It will also provide accurate data on inventory availability for online or instore sales and whether it has been quality checked for resale. Without a high level of insight and real-time control, there’s no simple way of achieving stock visibility and effective optimisation of sales.
Often, this process can be made simpler by accessing the expertise of a reliable 3PL provider. They will review your systems, data and processes to help accelerate and smooth the customer journey, increase sales opportunities and maximise the return on stock.
Ensuring the entire logistics service you provide meets changing customer expectations can be a valuable differentiator in an increasingly competitive, fast moving retail landscape.
At Cygnia, we are geared to helping businesses accelerate growth and enter new markets, delivering optimum impact with minimal disruption.
For more information as to how you can tailor your logistics service to better suit the needs of your customers, get in touch.