JK they don't want it

Congrats, your order was delivered! Unfortunately, the customer needs to return some of the items. This episode walks you through what you need to know about reverse logistics and how to build customer loyalty throughout the returns management process.

In this episode of the "What Happens When You Click Buy" content series, we discuss the challenges of managing returns in ecommerce fulfillment. 

Customers often return items after purchasing them, and as supply chain professionals, it's our responsibility to handle these returns effectively.

There are two primary considerations in the returns process:

  1. Should you get the product back from your customer? 
  2. If you bring a product back, how do you decide what to do with it once it reaches your warehouse? 

Sometimes shipping costs outweigh special handling expenses at your warehouse or facility. Deciding whether to ask for a return or let customers keep their unwanted items is essential. Note that the item may be in a different condition than when shipped out and require rework processes like washing or repairing. Alternatively, products could be donated if no longer sellable but still usable by others.

Managing returns can be done either internally or through reverse logistics-specific third-party providers (3PLs). While outsourcing offers potential cost savings due to optimized warehouses designed for handling returns, managing your own gives more flexibility and control over unique customer experiences.

To streamline the process further, automation is critical: automating decisions on whether inventory needs returning based on real-time shipping rates versus resale value; building rules-based engines that manage vendor-specific actions needed upon receiving returned goods; and automating outbound processes such as donations or destruction of unsellable items.

Key takeaway: determine if inventory needs returning and consider implementing automation around reverse logistics operations for efficiency gains. 

Thanks for tuning in; see you in the next episode!