Is reverse logistics necessary for smooth returns policy?
Online retail is incomplete without an adequate return policy. Consumers feel they are at a disadvantage because they cannot closely examine online goods before purchase. This makes product returns a necessity. Six to eight percent of seller products are returned. For some sellers this percentage can go as high as 25%. Alarming yes, but why do people return goods? Either because:
- – They received the wrong product
- – They don’t like the product or it doesn’t fit them (or their personality)
- – The product they received doesn’t match what they saw online
- – Poor product quality
All very valid reasons, given the fact that they cannot try out the product or examine its quality before making a purchase! Allowing returns can be risky too, but by not providing the return option you risk losing a great deal of orders. Having reverse logistics is a necessity if you want to stay in the game and actually make significant sales!
What is Reverse Logistics?
In ecommerce reverse logistics refers to the product return process. Returning products is hectic, however if the seller offers to take care of product returns, consumers will jump to buy from you. Most marketplaces provide reverse pickups. Some even go as far as to provide 90 minute reverse pickups.
Reverse logistics can get tricky because while you’re trying to meet consumer needs your costs may increase if you aren’t careful. Before you make your decision about reverse logistics you need a better understanding the facts.
Why Do You Need Reverse Logistics?
Returns are inevitable
For certain categories product returns are unavoidable. Wearable items like clothes, shoes, accessories see the highest returns. Irrespective of whether they are sold online or offline! Since consumer taste and preferences vary and not all people are the same, product returns cannot be avoided completely. But you can boost consumer confidence in your products by giving them the option to return your products.
You gain a strategic advantage
Online shoppers interact with online products in two ways, through an online platform (i.e. an online marketplace or store) and upon order fulfillment. It is usually during the later engagement that a consumer is absolutely certain about whether your product is worth his money or not. The consumer is going to make a purchase only if he gets to change his mind. And the actual purchase decision is made only once they have the product in their hands. If you have a strong reverse logistics plan in place and if you give the public what they want in terms of quality, you can guarantee product sales and reduce returns. (The return policy will get people to buy but the quality will make them want to keep your products.)
You prevent product damage and wrong returns
You can limit damage done to your products by collecting the return goods yourself. At the same time you can check the returned products before it is sent back to you. This way you always recover the right product and make sure the product you collect is intact and undamaged.
You retain consumers
Goods being damaged in transit is a high possibility in ecommerce and if a consumer receives damaged goods he won’t be thrilled. Especially if he has to make the effort to return the damaged product! If you don’t collect the return item from him, it is a deal breaker for consumers. Even if a consumer returns your products purely because it doesn’t suit their style, offering to pick up the product can go a long way towards consumer satisfaction. And satisfied consumers usually turn into long term consumers.
You could be losing out
The lack of return logistics could mean you are losing out on opportunities to make profits. Just knowing that you are willing to take back a product and pick it up yourself can pull consumers in your direction. By making the return process easy on the consumer you get the attention of more people and more clicks too.
At Browntape we understand the value of time, logistics and inventory. For hacks and tricks to improve your ecommerce get in touch with an expert at Browntape. We are India’s leading ecommerce experts and we are ready to help you take your online retail business to the next level.