Customer returns are an unfortunate yet unavoidable process in the product world. That’s why finetuning your reverse logistic solutions is so crucial to customer satisfaction and business success.
As online sales have increased over the past years, so have returns. CNBC estimates those returns add up to more than $700 billion of merchandise in a single year. While online sales are flourishing, businesses must determine what kind of reverse logistics management will lead their company to success.
What exactly are reverse logistics solutions, and how can you become a reverse logistics expert for your business? Keep reading to find out.
What are Reverse Logistics Solutions?
When products need to move from customers back to the seller or manufacturer, reverse logistics solutions are the answer for supply chain management. These reversed logistics may include customer returns or recycling programs.
While the typical supply chain brings products from sellers to retailers, reverse logistics turns the process on its head and enables efficient movement from consumers to companies. For businesses with recycling or refurbishing programs, the product doesn’t always return to the seller. The end consumer may be responsible for product disposal.
With an effective reverse logistics solution, businesses can recoup value from products or dispose of them as needed, all while working with customers to retain loyalty.
5 Top Reverse Logistics Solutions for your Brand
These reverse logistics services will help you discover how this process can be optimized for your business needs. Consider what processes you currently have in place and what areas you might need to focus on.
1. Returns Management
To properly manage returns in your reverse logistics process, you’ll need a careful system to arrange and control goods from customers back to your facility. How will customers initiate and perform returns? How will your business pick up products from customers and get them back to your facility?
Critical to successful reverse logistics returns management is software enabling you to monitor returns and know how much inventory you have.
The holiday season is one of the most important seasons for reverse logistics solutions. The National Retail Federation and Appriss Retail report an estimated average return rate for holiday purchases of 17.9 percent. Let that sink in: That represents nearly 1 in 5 purchases! So with data like this, it’s abundantly clear why getting your returns management system in place is essential before this busy season.
2. Returns from Retailers
Returns won’t only come down the reverse logistics pipeline from your customers. They can also come from retailers.
If products don’t sell in stores or delivery is refused by the retail operations, you’ll need to be prepared to accept these products from retailers.
What are the policies for returns from your current retailers? What could you do to optimize this system and regain value from your products? Having reverse logistics solutions in place can help your business avoid losing out on returns from retailers.
3. Remanufacturing and Refurbishment
When products are returned, they may come damaged. Your business should have a remanufacturing, refurbishing or reconditioning system in place to manage these products.
You may want staff to repair, rebuild, or rework goods. Some businesses also have their team set up to recover parts of a product if the entire thing isn’t salvageable.
Does your business work with products that could be easily repaired or broken down for useful parts? Consider the remanufacturing and repair process when building out your reverse logistics solution.
4. End of Life
Unfortunately, all products may eventually meet their end of life (EOL). When a good isn’t useful or no longer works, that signifies EOL. It may also occur when a new product version is out and the old is retired, or due to seasonality. Swimsuits don’t sell during parka season, for example!
The reverse logistics process comes into play with end of life products; often, when sellers decide to recycle or dispose of products that are at the end of life. This reverse logistics solutions service is key for businesses looking to minimize their environmental impact.
One reverse logistics example of this end of life process is when clothing stores like H&M or Madewell offer customers coupon incentives when they bring their used or damaged clothing back to the store to recycle. The customer gets a nice discount on a valuable item. The retailer enjoys new revenue, and maybe a new long-term customer. And for the Earth, it’s a sustainable step towards less waste in landfills. Win, win, win!
5. End of Life
Of course, for many companies, returns are something to be avoided. Through the returns avoidance strategy of reverse logistics, businesses work to decrease returns with thorough research.
Why might a customer return a product? What could you do to fix that problem or obstacle before a customer reaches the point of requesting a return?
Strategies to work toward returns avoidance include utilizing a user friendly design, maintaining quality control and providing effective use instruction.
Your Next Step in Reverse Logistics
Looking for a reverse logistics expert? Look no further than Smart Warehousing. We have the structure in place to support your reverse logistics solutions. Returns that are sent to our warehouses are handled effectively with a proven process. Our team and facilities are prepared to manage all types of returns to help you lower expenses and save time.
With our industry leading technology solutions and seamless order integration, you’ll know exactly what’s happening with your product. Whether it’s going down the supply chain or working its way back with reverse logistics.
Smart Warehousing is your partner for reverse logistics solutions and beyond. Ready to chat about your logistics needs? Contact us today to streamline your system for success.