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Editorial: Paying the returns price for keeping customers happy


If ever there was a guide for how to handle your delivery and returns, and their importance in delivering a best in class customer proposition, then it comes this week from ASOS.
In its latest financial results ASOS updated the market on its latest innovations in delivery and returns. It has reduced delivery windows, extended cut-off times and launched one-hour delivery slots for customers. Internationally it is also pushing hard on delivery both on speed and reducing cost to attract even more customers onboard.

Challenging returns

Returns of course is a major challenge for ASOS, since the retailer falls into the category of fashion retailers – one of the highest sectors for returns in the whole of the industry. New research from Barclayard however, suggests that retailers are suffering more than they should from returns with the majority (57%) granting refunds on returned items regardless of their state.

Retailers are desperate to maintain and encourage positive customer relationships but is a more lenient than necessary returns policy really the way to do it? After all the same research suggests too that a quarter (26%) of those goods aren’t actually fit for resale – nearly half of them having been used, 29% being marked and 28% having bits missing from them. That means that returns are also costing retailers on their bottom line more than they should.

Poor despatch processes

The Barclaycard research looked largely at those returns that come back because a customer has changed their mind, or, as referenced above is playing the system somewhat.

Of course another key reason for returns can be the fact that the wrong product was sent out in the first place. Our latest opinion piece, this week from Peoplevox, therefore provides some timely reminders as to how to avoid simple mistakes during the despatch process – something that is more important than ever with peak trading closing in.

Expansion and investment

Boosting their ability to deal with increased demands and peak in the last week we have seen major investments by delivery businesses expanding both facilities and manpower.

FedEx Express has announced a major investment into its distribution hub at Paris’ Charles de Galle airport which will introduce new technology that will boost its package sorting capacity by more than 40%. It will also include an automated sorting system for large, oversized packages.

At The Delivery Group the company has expanded yet again after P2P joined the family. The enlarged group now includes P2P, Secured Mail and CMS, bringing an even broader range of businesses to the market.

And on a lighter note we also saw the staff of APC Overnight in a rather different light this week – pink to be exact – after the company’s head office staff donned all things pink in aid of wear it pink day last Friday in aid of breast cancer awareness.

Supporting leading charity Breast Cancer Now the company held a series of charity activities, which also included a competition to guess at what time a special pink parcel would go through the company’s sortation system.

And finally

Don’t forget that the videos from our recent eDelivery Conference will be online soon. If there are any in particular you want to see written up for the newsletter then do leave a comment and let us know.

Of course if you are reading this but you haven’t subscribed to eDelivery yet, why not do so now? You’ll get a weekly newsletter summarising the main stories we’ve covered, and we’ll keep you informed of other big announcements. You’ll find details on subscribing here.

See you next week!

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