The COVID-19 pandemic hit and the entire shopping experience changed suddenly and completely. More than 12,000 brick-and-mortar stores closed in 2020 as shoppers moved to shop online from the comfort and safety of their homes. To keep up with changing consumer habits, many businesses have expanded their e-commerce presence or moved to online retail for the first time. As companies continue to undergo this digital transformation to the new way of shopping, they are struck with the underlying reality that as online sales increase, so do returns.
To keep up with the demand of processing customer returns, retailers must utilize robust, tech-enabled reverse logistics to help streamline the returns process, eliminate fraudulent return activity, and achieve maximum profit margins. Trying to wade through the murky waters of returns processing can be a tricky process that requires the help of experts in outsourced logistics. By leveraging a Returns Management System (RMS) with enhanced visibility and advanced tracking retailers can better manage returns, improve their revenue stream, and enhance customer ratings.
What is a Returns Management System (RMS)?
An RMS platform uses highly configurable returns processing workflows to manage and track every aspect of the returned product’s journey, from the moment the request is submitted to the time the original product is placed back in the company’s inventory to be resold, and the customer’s return has been finalized.
The process begins with returns initiation, which is activated when the buyer requests a return. The goal of an RMS solution is to ensure the customer’s return experience is as pleasant as the buying process was. An RMS solution is designed to help companies improve their customer service by using automated communications to give the consumer updates on their return, which removes the need for follow-up calls and emails to customer service teams.
Once the request is in, the solution will provide the retailer with visibility and data insights into the reason(s) for the return to predict the costs and time associated with future returns and monitor any unusual, potentially fraudulent activity by the customer. There are many ways a shopper can conduct return fraud or return abuse, but they all result in one major problem for retailers – cost.
Consumer abuse of returns policies costs businesses up to $15.9 billion each year.
The visibility provided by a robust RMS solution during the initial stages of a return can save online merchants astronomical costs. Once the return is submitted, the next step is to determine if the returned product’s cost is less expensive than having it shipped back to the company’s warehouse. This is particularly critical for global e-commerce businesses that are dealing with higher shipping costs. In some situations, a business may send the customer a new product and tell them to keep the old one. An RMS platform delivers the data needed to make these determinations.
Some warehouses become inundated with returns, so an RMS solution can determine which location works best based on their inventory fulfillment needs and how close they are to the customer’s location. Once the site has been selected, the product can undergo any repairs and inspections deemed necessary before it’s ready to go back into inventory.
The final step in the returns process is parcel tracking and recovery. The process of eliminating product return waste is streamlined, any necessary repairs and refurbishments are made, and the return for both the customer and business is finalized.
Integrating an end-to-end RMS solution will have noticeable, lasting effects on e-commerce businesses from a financial and customer service perspective. RMS tools and technology can help companies achieve their desired outcome by increasing profit margins, reducing revenue loss from expensive returns, and improving customer satisfaction. As consumers continue to embrace e-commerce, RMS capabilities give retailers the peace of mind needed to provide quality customer service and operate with a focus on cost efficiencies.
ReverseLogix is the only end-to-end, centralized, and fully integrated returns management system built specifically for retail, ecommerce, manufacturing, and 3PL organizations. Whether B2B, B2C or hybrid, the ReverseLogix platform facilitates, manages, and reports on the entire returns lifecycle.
Organizations that rely on ReverseLogix deliver a vastly superior customer returns experience, save employee time with faster workflows, and increase profits with 360⁰ insight into returns data.