A wide variety of businesses today, especially those in consumer electronic IT devices, depend on multi-channel online sales to drive their business. This format (omnichannel) is now widely utilized to market, sell, and distribute inventory, but these businesses also know that online returns are the biggest hurdle they must face in the smooth operation of their supply chains. This especially holds true in instances where the rule for returns is “the customer is always right,” a philosophy that holds true with the ecommerce giant, Amazon.
A recent survey found that online returns can run as high as 30%, which, of course, is incredibly costly and time-consuming for any business.
Added to the cost factor, 8 out of 10 supply chain experts who participated in that survey said the high cost of online returns to a store, particularly when the item is not carried in that store, makes a huge impact on the business’s bottom line.
So while online holiday sales boomed, a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation revealed that, this year, retail returns were higher than in previous years, with an estimated total of about $260.5 billion.
You may know it all too well; when your product is returned to a fulfillment center or supplier, your business incurs incremental freight costs, the possibility of shipping-related product damage, as well as a lost opportunity for a replacement sale in-store.
Unless you have fully integrated inventory and fulfillment between the online and actual store channels to assist with the overall omnichannel logistical challenges, you are probably feeling this impact on a daily basis.