While some retailers have perfected supply chain logistics, many still struggle with the other side – dealing with reverse supply chain, more commonly referred to as parcel returns. As retailers focus on growing omnichannel capabilities in order to meet customer expectations and remain competitive, many now offer more liberal return policies. Unfortunately, retailers still struggle when it comes to processing returns from multiple channels in an efficient manner.
And the problem will likely only get worse as eCommerce sales continue to grow. A recent study from eMarketer forecasts that eCommerce sales in the U.S. will grow 15.6 percent in 2016, with eCommerce’s share of total retail sales poised to surpass 10 percent by 2018.
The negative impact of inefficient reverse supply chain practices is two-fold – profit losses and environmental impact.
The negative impact of inefficient reverse supply chain practices is two-fold. Not only are retailers themselves impacted by profit losses, but there’s also an environmental impact. According to the Environmental Capital Group, two million tons (or 4 billion pounds) of retail returns are loaded into landfills every year – contributing to environmental problems like groundwater contamination and greenhouse gas emissions.
There are three primary ways retailers can make returns more seamless, convenient and efficient for everyone involved:
- Leverage analytics technology. The unpredictability of returns make planning difficult. Analytics technology can help retailers anticipate returns by pulling on previous trends and data.
- Know your customers. Understanding your customers and tailoring to their needs is an important part of any omnichannel strategy. It also helps to predict future behavior based on past activity.
- Achieve greater visibility for better planning. Technologies like Newgistics’ SmartLabel help retailers see what’s on its way back to their distribution center and when it’s arriving. Added visibility helps retailers offset costs through improved labor planning, better communication with customers and faster resale times.
To learn how Newgistics can help you improve returns management, please visit http://newgistics.com/shipping-and-returns/returns-management/