Reverse logistics made easier
For e-commerce retailers reverse logistics or product returns are an inevitable fact of life. Even though you do everything you can to prevent them. But although returns can be challenging due to time and financial investment, as well as maintaining stock levels, delivering a great parcel returns service can actually be turned to your advantage.
With more and more customers shopping online there’s bound to be an increase in unwanted or unsuitable purchases. It makes sense to deliver a seamless, swift reverse logistics service. Your customers will thank you for it, in fact, 92% of shoppers will buy again from a retailer that provides a good returns process.
This blog will talk you through a number of important aspects of managing reverse logistics. We’ll offer some tips on how to make reverse logistics and parcel returns easier for both you, and your customers. We’ll look at how to create the right returns policy and offer some tips for communicating your reverse logistics process effectively. We’ll also look at ways to optimise your customer service in this area, and the third party logistics services you can consider if you find you need additional support. Let’s begin.
- What is reverse logistics?
- Operate a clear reverse logistics policy
- Give your customers the choice of their returns process
- Optimise your returns process with great communication
- Work with a great reverse logistics provider
- The perfect partner for your reverse logistics needs
What is reverse logistics?
Reverse logistics refers to the process and activities involved with returning goods back into the supply chain. As the e-commerce sector continues to grow, there are greater requirements for more streamlined, cost-effective and efficient reverse logistics processes.
The most common reverse logistics process for e-commerce retailers is the return of goods by the customer. Other examples of reverse logistics include:
- The return of unsold goods by distribution partners due to contract terms
- The need to refurbish or repair goods
- Reusing packaging
- Reselling goods to a secondary market. This is usually due to overstocking
- Addressing maintenance needs to meet with a guarantee agreement
- The recycling and safe disposal of end-of-life goods.
Great reverse logistics management in e-commerce increases trust and loyalty, improves the customer experience and results in more sales and fewer abandoned carts. All of which gives you a distinct competitive advantage. It also helps you control costs and reduce waste. Let’s take a look at how to make reverse logistics and parcel returns easier for both you, and your customers.
Operate a clear reverse logistics policy
Today’s customers want to know where they stand with the retailers they choose to buy from. Therefore it is vital to communicate a clear return policy on a dedicated page on your website and at key stages in the customer journey. This could be on the order confirmation page or on the product pages themselves. Whatever makes sense to your buyer journey.
An unclear return policy can result in lower sales, as customers are likely to doubt your service credentials which could result in cart abandonment. Shopify reports that around one in 10 cart abandonments occur because the shopper wasn’t satisfied with the returns policy and 67% of respondents to a survey by Business 2 Community said they check a retailer’s returns policy before making a buying decision.
On the other hand, a clear parcel returns policy can increase purchase intention. In addition to free products, including free returns, consumers simply love transparency. A good, simple and transparent return service means more satisfied customers who are much more likely to make a purchase again in the future – and recommend you to others.
Give your customers the choice of their returns process
Modern consumers love choice. They want to feel like they are in control of their purchases and they want their deliveries and returns to fit in with their busy lives.
Where possible offer the widest range of choices for your customer’s returned items, such as:
- Their preferred international or domestic shipping carrier.
- The option to have their parcel picked up, or the ability to choose from dropping off in-store, at a nominated location such as a post office or at a parcel locker.
Put your customer in the driving seat and you stand a far better chance at winning their confidence and loyalty.
Optimise your returns process with great communication
Returns are frustrating for e-commerce retailers, but don’t forget that they aren’t much fun for your customers either. They’re likely to be disappointed that their purchases weren’t suitable, or simply weren’t what they hoped for. Furthermore, they aren’t going to be excited by an unexpected extra trip to the post office or parcel locker.
Alongside providing the seamless returns service we’ve talked about above, it’s a great idea to communicate regularly with your customer throughout the different stages of the returns process. This means offering accurate, real-time tracking information on your website as well as notifications via text, app or email (giving them the choice of their preferred channel, of course).
Consumers never like being kept in the dark. Keeping them updated about their return shipment’s progress and when they can expect reimbursement is a powerful way to build customer satisfaction and loyalty and make sure they keep coming back for more.
Work with a great reverse logistics provider
Managing your own shipping and returns takes a lot of time and effort. That’s potentially hours out of your working week when you could be devoting more time to boosting sales and conversions, improving your customer journey, and delivering great customer service.
Here are some benefits of working with a reputable third-party logistics provider:
- Complete end-to-end domestic and international returns.
- Access to a local solution within 24 hours, across 19 European countries.
- Account management via a single, easy to use interface (B2C Europe is the only provider to offer Post Office and Click & Collect networks from one centralised solution).
- Reduced investment in IT and warehousing.
- End-to-end real-time tracking and notifications, giving you and your customers complete visibility of your shipments and returns.
- Swift reimbursement for your customers, helping you boost customer retention and loyalty.
- No hidden fees or unexpected costs.
- Simple prepaid or consumer-paid label generation including bulk printing.
- Better control over stock levels.
The perfect partner for your reverse logistics needs
We hope that this article on how to make parcel returns easier has been useful and informative. Perhaps it has given you some ideas on how to turn this challenging part of being an e-commerce retailer around and use it as a valuable opportunity for increasing customer loyalty, satisfaction and sales.
Like all aspects of online retail, it is important to keep listening to the needs of your customers. If they would prefer a particular reverse logistics service, then why not be the brand that delivers this to them? If they want to use a delivery company that works with specific international or domestic shipping providers then maybe it’s time to expand your options.
Whether you’re a new entrant to the market or an established e-commerce retailer, it can seem like you have a lot on your plate. But remember, you don’t have to do it all alone. When you partner with a reputable third-party logistics provider you benefit from lower shipping and return costs, smoother more efficient services, expert advice on increasing sales, and much more – all managed from one secure, centralised interface.
Sounds good? Contact us today to find out more about how B2C Europe can help you grow your business and boost customer satisfaction.
How do you scale up your business while ensuring you provide the highest standard of shipping services? A multi-carrier strategy could be the answer.
Europe is one of the most advanced markets in e-commerce with fairly complex parcel delivery supply chains. Building on our core expertise, we create logistics solutions for e-commerce that integrate with your entire supply chain.
Maersk announced its intent to acquire B2C Europe on August 6th, 2021 and today it is announced that A.P. Moller – Maersk has completed the acquisition.