Quick Facts:

  • 75% of retailers identified shipping costs as biggest challenge; a 7% increase from 2017
  • Global ecommerce sales will increase 109% over next three years to $4.8 trillion; requiring additional shipping costs
  • 34% of shoppers said they will only buy something from an online retailer if they offer free shipping
  • 34% of retailers now have a free shipping option; another 35% will offer it as a promotion
  • 41% of shoppers said they will only buy if offered free returns
  • 27% of all online retailers will offer free returns

These data points tell a story of how shipping costs can add up very quickly during an age of competitive online shopping where retailers are bending over backwards to make consumers happy, loyal customers. And what customers want is free shipping during purchase as well as the ability to return items for free. Nearly a third of all online retailers are complying with customer demand by offering free shipping and free returns. That said, while retailers are paying attention to customers, they are not paying attention to reverse logistics (only 3% of retailers cited reverse logistics as their biggest supply chain investment in 2018).  

Recovering retail shipping costs

Shipping, planning, storing, and processing is an expensive venture and one that is only going to increase in volume as online sales continue to increase; 2018 holiday ecommerce sales numbers have already broken Black Friday and Cyber Monday records. A few approaches retailers can take to recover from the cost of shipping include: padding the cost of online items to absorb both initial shipping costs and the return shipping costs; agree to lower the price of an item if the customer agrees to opt out of the free return policy; or, if the online retailer has brick and mortar locations, then allow for in-store returns instead of shipping the item back. In these instances, the retailer can keep their lenient shipping and return policies, but at the same time they won’t go broke with shipping and processing costs.

Modern approaches to recover from overstock and returned item costs

One of the last steps when dealing with increased shipping costs associated with returned product is figuring out how to effectively liquidate that product to keep supply chains moving and warehouses from hitting capacity. Traditional liquidation methods are now a thing of the past. Online retailers are operating on a global scale and they need to partner with a worldwide liquidation partner. B-Stock is the world’s leading online B2B liquidation platform that directly connects retailers’ returned, excess, and liquidation inventory to small business owners sourcing merchandise to resell in discount and clearance stores. Find out why nine out of the top 10 U.S. retailers have partnered with B-Stock to increase recovery rates, keep supply chains open, and to implement the latest reverse logistics methodologies.

If you’re ready to learn more on what the world’s top retailers are already doing, request a demo today!

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