Returns system: why it is important to invest cleverly in e-commerce infrastructure and logistics

03-09-2019

In the world of e-commerce, the return of goods is an inevitable part of the infrastructure and logistics of every company. Several customers shop online with a plan to immediately return all or some of the items, it has simply become a fundamental part of our online shopping behaviour, making it “the new normal”. 

Around 30% of goods bought online are returned, while for brick-and-mortar-stores, the return-rate is merely 9%. Nailing down exact numbers on return rates is difficult, but it is estimated that what consumers worldwide buy and returns totals around $642.6 billion per year. This corresponds to the returning of goods bought online could rank as part of the world’s 21st largest economy.

How online-shops handle returns, therefore ends up being crucial for the bottom-line. A lot of advantages can be achieved when returns are managed effectively, while if not managed effectively, returns can end up being costly and you may not be able to trust how much of your sales profit actual stays within your company.

An effective returns management strategy can help you save money by recapturing value from your products and reduce the costs associated. If handled correctly, a return management system can become a way of increasing both customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Because E-commerce is characterised by a large percentage of the goods being returned, it is crucial to secure that the handling of the returned goods is as efficient as possible. The handling of the goods must be both steady and secure, for the goods to remain undamaged and sellable. When the amount of goods being returned is so big, it cannot be handled as a secondary task, but instead returns must be integrated as an essential part of the logistical processes in the company.

Is the return flow in your company of a large scale? We recommend considering whether it is relatively easy to gain both efficiency and economic benefits, by automating the return process. If your company already practices automated in-feed, integrating an EffiMat® or ClassicMat™ as a central part of the company’s returns system, will enable you to handle returns in the same manner as your company handles in-feed and the picking of goods. Our CEO, Jørgen Flemming Ladefoged, states the following concerning returns systems:

“By automating your returns system, the principle will be the same as conducting automated picking. You can choose to return the goods directly to their original location or you can create an actual returns system, where you sort the goods into either a ClassicMat™ or Effimat®, for subsequent picking or sorting, in order to remove it from the area where the goods are being delivered. Otherwise you’ll drown in bottlenecks.”

Do you want to know more about how to avoid bottlenecks and instead gain both financial profit and increased efficiency through automation?

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