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Even though the holidays seem far behind us, you may still feel their effect on your business in the form of reverse logistics. The ill-fitting sweaters, the duplicate fishing poles, or the unwanted drills continue to make their way back to your business. You’ve probably made the return process easy for your customers, but supply chain management isn’t getting any easier for you.
Just how big of a problem is reverse logistics? It’s estimated that the cost of returned products in 2017 could be as high as $32 billion, according to CBRE’s recent research. It’s expected that the trend of high returns will reach an eight percent gain for the fifth year running.
Some Questions to Answer
With more shoppers going online to find gifts and other needs, the attention to customer service and better return policies that have grown online retail will continue — which means that logistics challenges will continue to increase as well.
The lack of predictability can make planning for returns difficult. It’s hard to determine ahead of time what items will be returned and why. Was it due to a shipping delay, the wrong size, or an unsatisfactory product?
This is the type of question that needs to be answered along with a few more. How will your company stay ahead of this supply chain management curve? What do you do with those returned items? And how do you handle the process without sinking too much capital into it?
How Shipping Companies Can Support You
Shipping companies are assisting e-commerce companies by taking on more responsibility and helping the customer and the company meet in the middle. They’re making the return process easier on both sides.
Though shipping companies don’t grapple with the inventory issues that result from returns, they do help streamline the entire process for the company and the customer. That way you can focus on managing returned products once they arrive back at your operation. A good shipping company helps limit the amount of supply chain management you need to perform, allowing you to focus on running your business.
An Effective Partnership
To coordinate your company’s reverse logistics, you need a shipping partner with the right type of experience. Your shipper needs to be flexible and responsive to the ups and downs and ebb and flow of your sales cycle.
They need a solid understanding of the full array of supply chain management issues as they affect your business. Management needs a system in place to handle change and an excellent attention to detail so that returned products don’t get lost in the flow.