With holiday shopping also comes seasonal returns, mostly occurring weeks after the holidays are over. While your business is working to get products shipped, it’s important to remember to plan for future returns. Let’s dive into how you can prepare for holiday season returns now with some simple yet effective reverse logistics tips.
What Is Reverse Logistics, and Why Is It Important?
The first step in your return policy plan is to understand what reverse logistics are and why having a reverse logistics strategy is important. Reverse logistics refers to products and materials going the opposite or reverse direction than the typical supply chain; from end customer back to the initial shipper or retailer.
For many businesses, such as eCommerce or retail stores, reverse logistics is part of larger return policies. It’s important for your small businesses to focus on reverse logistics just like you do on the traditional side of shipping. This helps to complete the product lifecycle and to provide the best services to their customers.
Preparing for Holiday Season Returns
Did you know that 34% of Americans return gifts they received over the holiday season? That’s a lot of holiday returns, and making the return process simple and easy for your customers will help your brand stand out with a positive customer experience.
In fact, a study found that 97% of consumers are more likely to be repeat customers after a positive return experience, and 46% of those surveyed stated they typically returned between one and three gifts received during the holiday season. While an important goal of reverse logistics for small business managers or owners is to recover value from products that would otherwise hurt the bottom line, increasing your customers’ satisfaction is another priority to keep in mind when developing a well-thought-out reverse logistics strategy.
Business owners and managers need to be prepared for returns to occur slowly after the holiday season. This happens as gifts are purchased and received, and then as the recipient decides if they want to return the item. A whopping 55% of customers return items a month after they received them, which means these items are typically returned in mid to late January. But is your reverse logistics plan prepared for this? Here are some helpful tips.
Simple and Effective Reverse Logistics Tips
Thankfully, planning ahead for the rush of holiday returns makes it much easier to handle.
- Be clear. Transparent return policies, repairs processes, and recycling processes all play a major role in a successful reverse logistics strategy and help you maintain customer loyalty.
- Remain flexible and quick. Flexibility goes a long way with customers, especially during the return process. Consider offering in-store drop-offs or contactless drop-offs for local residents and think about extending your return policy timeframe by a few weeks to accommodate the longer than usual holiday returns. Even though customers take their time, they expect quick turnaround for returns.
- Print or email labels. For any customer who can’t come to your store, offer to print and send or email the shipping label to them. Something as simple as this can make a big difference for your customers.
- Can you resell the returned item? If the returned item is in good shape and like-new condition or still in the original packaging, consider reselling the item. If the item cannot be resold, can you recycle it? This will help you with your bottom line as well as help make your supply more sustainable overall.
- Look at data. What does your year-over-year data show you about commonly returned items? If you see trends in certain items being returned more than others, consider why that may be happening and ways to improve it.
- Work with a 3PL. A third-party logistics provider, like FreightCenter, can help ease the stress of reverse logistics for your business by helping you find the best carriers and the best shipping rates and giving you access to innovative technology.
Now that you know the importance of having a solid return policy, and how it can affect your customers experience, we can help you manage the process. We can help take the manual labor and guesswork out of shipping products and returned items. Find out how we can help you today and get a free online quote or call us at 844-212-7447.