The COVID-19 pandemic-fueled surge in e-commerce creates a growing challenge related to the age-old issue of returns. As The Wall Street Journal highlights, “That shopping shift is placing more importance on solving a problem that dates to the early days of online shopping. Free shipping and other accommodating return policies have gotten consumers used to ordering multiple sizes and colors and returning what they don’t want.”
The share of online purchases that are returned averages 30% or higher, depending on the category, three times the rate in physical stores, according to industry executives. At that level, managing e-commerce reverse logistics can be expensive. The biggest merchants, including Amazon and Walmart, have taken notice and begun adopting some of the strategies perfected by smaller, innovative merchants. Some are telling customers receiving refunds to keep the product to avoid some returns altogether; others are investing in elaborate interactive online fitting rooms to slow the growth of apparel returns.
As the number of e-commerce package returns continues to rise, it’s critical that businesses evaluate how teams are equipped to handle returns, ensuring they have strategies in place to streamline returns processes and mitigate associated costs. Taking steps now to optimize returns processes and tools with robust technology solutions enables businesses to improve shipping processes and handle spikes in returns with greater flexibility.
In fact, the right multi-carrier shipping system allows businesses to centralize returns shipping execution and decrease transportation spend by optimizing carrier service selection and using data analytics and Business Intelligence to enhance inbound distribution strategies. With growing consumer expectations around free and easy e-commerce returns, advanced multi-carrier shipping technology offers businesses the ability to choose the best-fit approach to returns for greater control on return shipment costs in any scenario.
Download our checklist: 4 Ways Smart Businesses are Revamping Returns Processes in 2021 to learn more about how a cloud multi-carrier shipping system can optimize shipping processes and help take the hassle out of returns.