Committing to third-party logistics is a big step for a business. Trust is paramount: trust between you and your returns management service, and between you and your customer. How can you and your 3PL provider put the best returns management process in place? After all, processing returns is a fact of life for any retail business.
Product and merchandise returns processing should be covered by your 3PL provider end to end. Your returns management service should at the same time be able to coordinate their process with the way you do business and the way your customers expect you to do business. Ask your provider about the system they use to manage returns. Do they have tracking available? Are they equipped for monitoring quality control? Can they independently generate shipping materials for returns? How do they process returned goods for resale? A shipshape returns management service system will be robust enough to incorporate all of these requirements.
Returns processing is an ugly truth of retail. Some segments of the industry see returns as high as 30 percent. However, if the quality of your returns management service is high enough, it doesn’t have to mean that you’re losing a customer. The days of restocking fees and shipping fees for returns are over– online shoppers won’t stand for it. While there are things you can do to smooth the process, such as printing smart labels to streamline returns and restocking, the main duty of satisfying your returns customer falls on the returns management service. It’s vital that you can rely on them for a smart returns process that centers the customer experience– a process that should include easy tracking, a fair and easy returns policy, and a clear and efficient infrastructure for processing.
eCommerce continues to revolutionize the retail experience, but technology marches on. Data efficiency continues to streamline costs for retailers, who can pass those savings onto their clients for increased competitively in the market. Closed loop supply chains are being more broadly implemented as well, to reduce waste. And, of course, self-driving trucks will take on more and more responsibility going forward. If your returns management service is not switched on to these changes in the market and the savings they can provide for their clients, they’ll be left behind– and drag you down with them.