The product return process has long been neglected at companies, written off as a necessary expense that adds no value. The returns function and any process related to it is often given the bare minimum of time and consideration. Typically, once an item is returned, it's thrown into the back of a warehouse and forgotten about while a new product was shipped to the customer.
Analyst Insight: The overall market for U.S. 3PL providers has surpassed $116bn after six consecutive years of expansion. The 3PL market has expanded in all but one of the last 10 years, with a recession-fueled decline in 2009 the only blemish. At the same time, global corporations are striving to consolidate the number of logistics providers they work with to obtain more services from fewer providers. - John Johnson, Senior Content Specialist, Gartner Supply Chain
3PLs are much more than an outsourced logistics execution channel today: They're assuming larger contracts, more complex projects and increased authority as trusted advisors to companies navigating the omni-channel landscape. But with greater responsibility comes greater expectations all around - and it's up to 3PLs to rise to the occasion.
The goal of omnichannel retailing is to create a seamless and transparent experience for the customer that enhances the retailer's brand. To date, the omnichannel retailing focus has been largely on the selling experience and not how the retailer gets the goods into the customer's hands. However, customers measure the entire shopping experience, including delivery. Omnichannel selling is making retailers responsible for home delivery, whether they like it or not, and last-mile delivery performance is the last word about the retailer in the customer's mind.