Superior reverse logistics are critical to both retailers and customers. Retailers need to handle returns efficiently and effectively; and customers sometimes find onerous return policies to be deal breakers.
Consider these observations from Lisa Terry, writing for Inbound Logistics:
“The forward side of retail logistics spends September through December moving high volumes of goods into stores and e-commerce distribution centers. For reverse logistics, however, it’s all about January, February, and March. That’s when the good, the bad, and the ugly post-holiday returns hit: damaged, unwanted, outmoded, leaking, spoiled, or counterfeit merchandise that pours back into retail stores and returns consolidation centers, accounting for 40 to 60 percent of the year’s returns. It is up to retail’s reverse logistics operations to separate the wheat from the chafe, performing triage and processing it all to reduce costs and mitigate loss.”
“Retailers are devoting more attention and resources to reverse logistics as they seek to extract as much value as possible from returned goods. The average retailer’s reverse logistics costs for consumer goods are equal to an average 8.1 percent of total sales — a figure which, unlike forward logistics, includes the value of the goods.”
Click the image to read several suggestions from Terry on how to better manage retail returns.