This holiday season, there’s an uptick in sales for both brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce stores — so much so that they are overloading the U.S. Postal Service. There’s also an uptick in losses, however. This is especially true when your business doesn’t pay attention to returns management. As people complete their holiday shopping, not all of their purchases make it to the intended receivers. Some have to be returned for various reasons, which means your sales are not final until these are recalculated into your inventory.
Greater Importance for Online Stores
A sizable portion of the buying population is doing their shopping online. It’s more convenient for them, as they do not have to leave the house to get their shopping done. They can also do it in their spare time — an afternoon break can be spent buying a gift for a loved one. Along with this convenience, however, is the fact that some of them are buying multiple versions of an item and returning those they have changed their mind about.
As online shopping involves not heading to an actual store, this means customers don’t get to try on the items for size (clothes, for example). That’s one reason 15% to 30% of e-commerce sales are returned, while brick-and-mortar stores only have to deal with 8% returns. ReverseLogix and other experts noted that the returns have to be managed using returns management software for speed an efficiency. Otherwise, you might also have to deal with customer losses.
Free Returns as Holiday Promos
It’s a marketing tactic, allowing people to buy an item with the promise of free returns up to a certain number of days after the purchase. It’s also proving to be quite the lucrative area, as returns handling may cost as much as $32 billion this year. That could be listed in your losses if you don’t handle the return of items in a timely manner. After all, if you don’t have the item in stock because customers assume you have already sold every last piece, you won’t get new purchases.
Returns need not be losses. Handle them properly and efficiently to keep the business going.