Retailers are continuing to step up their game when it comes to the ease of returning items. Walmart is the latest to announce a bold new initiative (which will no doubt have an impact on reverse logistics). Starting in November, shoppers will be able to start the returns process on their phones, using Walmart’s app before heading to the store. Then, using a Mobile Express Lane at a Walmart store, they will scan a QR code, which will prompt a refund to be credited to a shopper’s payment account in around 30 seconds.

When it comes to ecommerce, a quick and no-hassle return policy drives loyalty and continued business: consumers want clarity, simplicity and convenience in a return policy. Further, 33% of shoppers indicate that they will complete their online purchase only if the returns process is easy. It’s no wonder one in three online purchases are returned and that ecommerce returns are growing 15% annually.

Relaxed return policies are driving a need for better reverse logistics programs. This includes what happens to the merchandise that can’t be returned to store or virtual shelves and is slated for the secondary market. There is often an opportunity to recoup more by simply ditching traditional, manual methods and applying technology to the process instead. Consider this:

  • If you’ve historically sold your inventory to one or two liquidators, your recovery value is probably low. When liquidators know they are not being forced to compete, they become really good at negotiating prices down in order to maximize their own profits.
  • Time spent negotiating deals for every lot of merchandise takes away from core, strategic business activities. This can equate to millions of dollars lost over time, which is quite a hit to companies with already skinny margins.
  • By eliminating dependence on a small group of buyers you can increase return, in some cases by triple digits.

Through B-Stock’s web-based B2B liquidation marketplace platform, retailers are able to reach thousands of approved business buyers – interested in products across all categories and conditions – to bid directly on merchandise via online auctions. This immediately eliminates dependence on a small group of buyers. What’s more, the auctions create competition, driving up pricing.

Let’s face it, returns will continue to be the rule in retail so it literally pays to rethink whatever programs you have in place.

Holiday returns are on the horizon, learn how to better tackle them by watching our webinar.
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