For consumers, the holiday season has come and gone, but for retailers, it’s still going strong. The reason? Holiday returns. According to Marketplace.org, in the weeks following the holiday shopping season, retailers can expect 10 percent of their goods to be returned—and if you’re an online retailer, that number can jump as high as 30 percent.
Here are three focus areas that, when properly attended to, will help ensure your returns management program is up to the task of handling this massive influx of returned goods, and maximizing recovery for them.
For more about holiday returns, be sure to view our recent news coverage where we’re spotlighted in NBC Nightly News, CBC News, the Toronto Star, Houston Chronicle, and more!
1 – Focus on Performance
Retailers typically place much heavier emphasis on their forward supply chain than their reverse, and with good reason. It is, after all, a key function of their core business. What many don’t realize is that by holding their reverse supply chain to the same high standards, they can cut losses and maximize returns on returns by taking advantage of the considerable opportunities afforded by properly managing returned goods, either themselves or by enlisting the help of a dedicated reverse supply chain partner.
Retailers can maximize the efficiency and velocity of the returns process through accessible distribution centers equipped with world-class warehouse management systems and data analytics to measure results. They can also drive higher recovery for returned goods by using recommerce strategies to reach and influence buyers interested in great deals on returned goods. Working with a dedicated reverse supply chain partner allows retailers to access these benefits while staying focused on their core competencies.
2 – Focus on Brand Protection
While secondary markets represent a great opportunity to recoup the “losses” incurred by returns, it’s important to note that they are not without risks of their own. Retailer brands can be negatively impacted by failing to adhere to data protection laws and best practices when reselling used goods. It’s also vital to vet potential buyers to make sure they aren’t associated with illicit activities or groups. And, of course, ensuring the quality of products resold through secondary markets should also be a primary goal. Working with a reverse supply chain partner is a way to minimize all these risks.
An expert partner can even help create a great customer experience for your brand in secondary marketplaces. Being able to “wow” customers with superior customer service will further enhance brand image. Your partner should be able to provide white-labeled experiences, on their ecommerce site or your own, to optimize brand experiences for surplus goods. This includes offering:
- Detailed information and photos on all returned goods for sale
- Friendly, responsive customer service
- Fast shipping
- An easy-to-use website
3 – Focus on Going Green
Environmentally-friendly “green” businesses continue to gain popularity among all consumer segments, with one recent Nielsen survey noting that nearly 75% of millennial consumers willingly pay more money for environmentally sustainable products. One way to help capture new customers is to make your reverse supply chain an integral part of your sustainability efforts. Unfortunately, the return-to-vendor (RTV) process often hinders efforts to improve sustainability due to landfill disposal protocols. In addition to being environmentally unfriendly, this practice includes expensive landfill fees on top of lost profits, and is a definite turnoff to today’s sustainability-minded buyers.
An expert reverse supply chain provider works with retailers and vendors to create a mutually beneficial RTV program that meets the vendor’s brand goals and requirements while maximizing recovery and velocity. With an experienced provider, retailers can boost sustainability metrics for the entire company by following the “R” Cycle in returns management: reuse, refurbish, recommerce, redistribute, and recycle. This will give products a second life and ultimately defer them from a landfill.
Learn how Liquidity Services can turn your holiday returns into recovery
We help top retailers and consumer brands solve their holiday returns challenges with proven solutions and a vast buyer base. Contact us to discover how we can remove your pain of holiday returns.