Reverse logistics. This process is causing a lot of headache for logistic managers of webshops. For e-Fulfilment services, which are responsible for the logistic handling of webshops, the process of returning goods is very important as well. The costs of returning a online purchase is often free. This means that the total costs of the return shipments are accounted to the webshop. How can these costs be reduced?
A lot of webshop are working with, besides free shipment, free return shipments. This can cause high expenses for the webshop or e-fulfilment service. In the fashion industry, the percents of returns can even be 30%-50%, especially with women fashion. However, research shows that the free return option is part of the decision making process of the customer
Amanda Bower, professor of Marketing, investigated webshops and the effects of paid and free returns. Depending on the locus and extent of blame, customers who paid for their own return decreased their postreturn spending at that retailer 75%–100% by the end of two years. In contrast, returns that were free to the consumer resulted in postreturn customer spending that was 158%–457% of prereturn spending. The findings suggest that online retailers should either institute a policy of free product returns or, at a minimum, examine their customer data to determine their customers' responses to fee returns.
It is better to prevent returns. Show a extensive product description, especially for technical products, so the customer knows what he can expect. With garments it often happens that multiple measures are ordered. A Table of metric weights and measures can help the customers in his decision. Make sure the colors on the site are accurate and use a proper visualization, for example by using a 360 degrees view of the product. High resolution images can help the customer in his decision as well, especially by giving a zoom function. After all, prevention is better than cure.
The handling of returns
<pEventually, not all returns cannot be prevented. Important is though, that the costs are being kept as low as possible. Make sure that the logistic process provides this. A proper regulated return process can prevent a lot of the costs. By using multiple standard steps for every return shipment, these returns can be handled fast. Many reasons can be given for returning an article. Is the product (after potential repairing) ready to be re-allocated to the stock? This is a question that has to be standardized to make the process as efficient as possible. With preventing and a proper way of handling returns, costs can be decreased.
Return module (RMA)
Within WICS is it possible to make a question path, which is used for every return. Is the product incorrect, damaged, defect or incomplete? With every step a new step follows, to re-allocate the product to the stock, to repair the product or to make a new order for the customer.
Shown below are two screenshots from the WICS RMA module. The first screenshot shows us that a employee is first asked if the return article matches the image of the article. In the second image there is an example of a question path. Multiple templates can be made.