For companies worldwide, 2020 has shown no shortage of challenges. With the holiday season in full effect, retailers are preparing for the end of holidays and the beginning of the inevitable volume of holiday returns in the UK that will ensue in the aftermath of festivities. How many returns can they expect, and what is the cost?
In a year that’s sparked e-commerce more than ever before, retailers simultaneously expanded their opportunities while creating another challenge. How? eMarketer forecasts that e-commerce will account for 32.2% of all retail sales during the holiday season—a historically high amount:
But on the other side of this opportunity lie the inevitable returns that follow.
As the global pandemic forced consumers around the world into stay-at-home orders and limited in-person interaction, retailers began to leverage other capacities in lieu of in-person shopping for consumers, such as expedited shipping, speedier returns, and enhanced technology—all in an effort to provide consumers ways to better visualize products. But even with enhanced offerings, returns are still expected to increase. Customers cannot try anything on before they purchase, so they are sometimes left to guess and hope for the best with products, and sometimes they “bracket” their purchases, meaning they order items in more than one size and return the rest.
In a holiday season sparked by Black Friday during a year of lockdowns and heightened e-commerce, the stakes for retailers are higher than ever: “Online shopping typically sees around double the returns rate of high street shopping, so overall volumes are set to be higher than normal,” said Charlotte Monk-Chipman, marketing director at returns management platform ReBound Returns. “After Black Friday 2019, it took 12 days on average before returners actually sent unwanted items back, and any sudden surge in returns at this late stage could keep stock tied up in warehouses when it should be getting purchased in time for Christmas.”
Remember those enhanced offerings we spoke of before? The ones that offer consumers the flexibility to return things quickly and easily? Well, when reverse logistics are considered, all those conveniences come at a price—and it may cost twice as much to return an item than it does to deliver it. In a study published in May, research from payment provider Openpay estimated items bought online and returned in the UK were worth £5.2bn annually.
As the holiday season continues, UK retailers have to prepare for the onslaught of returns that’s coming following a heavy e-commerce year. How can they do that? By partnering with B-Stock Solutions.
We set up an online, private, B2B marketplace for retailers and brands to sell their excess stock. Rather than dealing with the challenges of reverse logistics and returning items to the shelf, retailers can clear their inventory directly to hundreds of thousands of vetted business resellers, circulating the product directly into the secondary market:
Learn more about how an online, B2B marketplace can turn your post-holiday surplus and returns into cash by downloading our Holiday Playbook.Download Holiday Playbook
You can also get in touch with Giorgio Vitale, Head of Business Development, EMEA.Email Giorgio