Planning for Peak Season Returns
Peak Season is well underway – which means plenty of sales. Unfortunately, it can also mean plenty of returns too. Returns can be a headache, but proper peak season planning keeps Q4 smooth and customers happy.
In e-commerce, an average of 30% of all products ordered online are returned. This volume of goods coming back can cause major strains on your operations process and disrupt effective inventory management. Not being equipped to handle returns alongside outbound fulfillment can lead to unsatisfied customers. Outsourcing fulfillment and returns requires a trusted partner to provide timely processing – key to customer satisfaction and brand growth.
Effectively Managing Ecommerce Returns
A high-quality returns service should always include confirming details of the returned item – this includes confirming the correct item was sent back, reviewing any damage, and ensuring the item has not been worn or used. If necessary for any warranty policies, the brand’s guidance for assessing and providing feedback on the legitimacy of claims – whether a warranty claim versus personal damage – must be followed. Capturing photos for proof of return can be a welcome extra in servicing, especially in the case of high-value products.
Returns must be put back into stock as soon as possible and in first-quality condition so they can be sold again. Having product tied up in limbo while it could be sold is not great. Speed of processing is vital to convert those goods into cash again.
Holding all returned items separately from new items and not reselling returned items through regular channels is something some brands consider. Using a secondary “virtual warehouse” helps to manage. This inventory can be used specifically to fulfill friends-and-family orders, promo orders, or perhaps held until a parking lot sale is hosted or close-out order is received.
Many returned items, particularly apparel, are a blessing to those less fortunate. If you have wearable returns that you do not want to sell, consider directing them to a charity before a landfill.
Rethink Returns with NRI
At NRI, we have a dedicated returns management team in all our facilities. The returns team processes returns, inspects items for quality, refurbishes items in-house (such as cleaning), performs light technical repairs, and restocks items. Our team works with clients to build custom returns solutions that best serve them and their customers.
Our quality control services include label assessment and replacement if needed, repackaging into new polybags or similar, and removing any retail tagging. Minor cleaning and refurbishment of garments is a regular process at NRI. We manage multiple virtual warehouses to allow clients to maintain visibility and control at the SKU level, without having default orders pull from returned inventory if desired. If returned items are not deemed fit for resale, we assist in safe and sustainable disposition – ideally to a local nonprofit organization where possible and agreed to.
We make the returns process simple for our clients and their customers. Making returns simple for your customers after the holiday season leaves a lasting impression and can help your business grow, and we are focused on being a key element in your success!
Want to discuss our returns process? Get in touch now!