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Expecting more orders this peak season? Get ready for a rise in returns

Online retailers are enjoying unprecedented orders, with many brands running at normal peak levels since May. And now that the real peak season is in-sight, these volumes are only expected to rise. For example, one large department store we work with is forecasting YoY growth rates of 50-60% during this period.

The ecommerce boom is great news, especially for omnichannel brands looking to recover sales lost in-store. But we’re extending a quiet word of caution nonetheless: make sure you’re prepared for the rise in returns that will inevitably come with it. Here are three easy steps retailers can take now to minimize the impact of returns, ahead of a peak season like no other.

Offer convenient returns options

Returns are 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.

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.

Embrace the ‘home as a dressing room’

The ‘home as dressing room’ phenomenon, already a rising trend before the coronavirus, is gathering pace in today’s ecommerce boom. Customers may be willing to acquire items through home delivery, but they also want to be able to try before they commit – and send the item 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.

Manage your reverse supply chain intelligently

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 make the cut. From an operational standpoint, brands must do what they can to ensure that returns are processed quickly and managed with minimal cost, and minimal disruption to inventory.

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. But the coronavirus has fast-tracked us all into an All-Delivery Era, and with it, returns experience has become an indispensable way of offering convenience to your customers and restoring their trust.

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.

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