Retailers might be gearing up for an online demand like no other this peak season, but they should also be preparing for the increased volume of returns that will inevitably come with it. Returns is simply a part of online shopping that today’s consumer accepts – if not expects! Indeed, consumers demand just as much ease and convenience through returns as they do at checkout – our analysis shows that 57% of consumers would be more likely to shop with a retailer offering an easy returns policy.
The impact this has on retailers is two-fold. On the one hand, shoppers will abandon their carts unless they’re assured they can return unwanted items easily. Secondly, from an operational standpoint, brands must do what they can to ensure that returns are processed quickly and managed with minimal disruption. But don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds! Here are three easy steps to minimize the impact of returns in a peak season like no other.
Step 1: Ensure convenient returns options
Retailers may have historically preferred to bury their heads in the sand when it comes to online returns, but the fact remains – consumers won’t buy from you unless they know they can easily return items that don’t suit.
Customers want to choose the way they return their items, in much the same way they want to choose how they receive them. Some prefer to return in-store, where they can easily try another size. Others would prefer to drop the item off at a PUDO point, or even pay extra for a courier to arrive at their door. The most successful retailers will have the infrastructure to allow customers to make returns in the way that’s most convenient for them.
Step 2: Turn customers’ homes into dressing rooms
The ‘home as dressing room’ phenomenon, already a rising trend before the coronavirus, is gathering pace in the All-Delivery Era. Customers may be willing to acquire items through home delivery, but they also want to be able to try the item before they commit to it – and send it back with ease should they change their mind.
The most successful brands are hard at work to streamline this process – for example by offering a returns portal, or even by including a returns label in the original delivery. These methods can help reduce shipping costs while also providing a more consistent and convenient customer experience.
Step 3: Intelligently manage your reverse supply chain
As retailers get ready for a peak season like no other, they must also prepare for a rise in returns. If consumers’ homes are this season’s dressing rooms, then brands had better find a way to efficiently manage the influx of items that don’t end up meeting the needs of online shoppers.
Delivery management software can add intelligence and efficiency to your reverse supply chain. The best solutions help brands retain greater visibility over returns, and ultimately get stock back online faster and more intelligently. Not only is this a more cost-effective solution for retailers, it also results in a faster and more convenient experience for the customer.
Retailers must shift the way they look at returns. Historically, returns have been viewed as nothing more than a logistical nightmare and a drain on resources. However, in the All-Delivery Era, returns are an effective way of offering convenience and restoring trust to consumers.
Find out more about the All-Delivery Era, and how you can scale your supply chain to take advantage of the demand. Download the Metapack eCommerce Delivery Benchmark Report 2020.