Lack of innovation over the past few decades around how organizations approach disposing of their returned, excess and obsolete inventory has resulted in billions of dollars lost and can no longer be left to inefficient, reactive or outdated methods.
Reverse logistics last year was punctuated by the record-breaking recall activity in the automotive industry, which created momentum that is now carrying into 2015. According to the Q4 Recall Index analysis from Stericycle, there was an unprecedented 74 million automotive units recalled throughout the year, an increase of 166 percent from 2013. Top affected products included air bags, which made up 34 percent of the total units recalled, and electrical systems, which impacted 31 percent of the units.
You're trying to do everything right to lure in online shoppers: You offer free shipping. Customers can return merchandise to a retail location. You even offer free returns through the mail. But this freedom for the customer can mean a lot of headaches and cost for you.
Online shoppers want retailers to make it easier to purchase their goods and services. Consumers also want websites and stores to work better together. For now, they also prefer to evaluate and purchase products from their desktops rather than their mobile devices, and when it comes to shipping and returns "free" is a driving factor to complete the sale. These and other findings appear in the third annual UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study, conducted earlier this year by comScore.
Analyst Insight: Online sales surged last year, and many companies saw their e-commerce sales grow by double digits. This growth is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, so the good news is that rising rates and revenue for e-commerce are significantly exceeding expectations. But there is bad news too - e-commerce is stressing distribution operations and many companies are having difficulty keeping up. Adopting the right operational practices for order fulfillment is essential for business success. - Kelly Reed, Partner, Tompkins International
London's Kingston University is employing TrackerPoint's TrackCAB solution to automate its after-hours return process, as well as to conduct inventory counts of 2,000 pieces of media equipment, such as cameras, laptops and computers, that it loans out to students and faculty.
Research released by Voxware indicates two thirds of consumers return online or phone purchases because of retailer error - usually delivering an item in the wrong size or color - and repeat business suffers as a result. On top of that, the returns process is flawed in many cases.
Nearly two-thirds of businesses (61 percent) surveyed in North America and Europe recognize that the post-holiday period represents the most challenging time of the year due to the high numbers of returns, according to an Intermec study. Yet despite this, more than half (52 percent) of distribution center managers admit they don't have the appropriate processes and tools in place to determine if returned goods should be discarded, returned to vendor or moved quickly back into inventory.
A survey by ShopRunner, which brings together a network of retailers to deliver shopping services, found that consumers are not concerned solely about free shipping on purchases, but free return shipping is increasingly at the forefront of their needs.