Moving to the Front of the Line with Returns

Gain a Competitive Advantage with Strategic Planning

The first reaction to the word “returns” is usually “fear.” It can send a feeling of angst to both customers and online retailers. But returns can actually be a burden and blessing, posing an  eCommerce opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade with the right strategy.

According to the National Retail Federation, more than half (55%) of shoppers plan to return or exchange unwanted gifts within a month of receiving them. Specifically, on January 2, “National Returns Day,” UPS expected to process a record breaking 1.9 million return packages, up 26% from 2018. This number isn’t significantly different than the 1.6 million daily returns UPS estimated it handled the week before Christmas. With that said, online retailers need to be prepared for the influx of returns mid-month while still working on getting merchandise delivered on time by December 23.

In UPS’ annual online shopper survey, 68% of respondents said the returns experience shapes their overall perceptions of a retailer, and 73% said the experience would influence whether they would use that retailer again. So, what does this mean for online retailers? It means they have an opportunity to gain insight regarding their shipping cost strategy by using LJM Rate ShopperSM to establish an optimal customer shipping charges schedule and  a more strategic and efficient way to handle returns. With the ability to be integrated into eCommerce platforms for rate comparison, Rate Shopper lets shippers compare their contract rates amongst different Carriers to get the best possible price.

Handling returns is easier said than done. The challenges with building a strong eCommerce return process can be overwhelming. What needs to be considered is warehouse efficiency, resale of returned products, the handling of damaged products and, most importantly, the shipping costs of returning an item. If a return policy is too strict and return shipping  isn’t free, chances are the customers will look to buy from another retailer. With this mind, it’s more important than ever to continue reevaluating your shipping costs to look for ways to lower them and pass those savings on to customers.