The retail industry is currently experiencing a 40% consumer returns rate when it comes to e-commerce. What’s more, new research shows that a staggering 89% of consumers report they have returned at least one online purchase within the past 3 years. All of these returns come at a cost. New estimates show that return deliveries will cost retailers $550 billion by 2020 (up 75.2% from 2015). With so much riding on the line when it comes to consumer returns, it’s important to ask, “Who in the c-suite owns consumer returns?”

It’s a question that all enterprise retailers seem to struggle with. Here’s why:

Multiple departments within an organization are impacted by consumer returns, including Merchandising, Supply Chain, Reverse Logistics, Sourcing, Quality and Store Operations. Each of these groups own and are accountable for specific components of product delivery and returns; but none of them are responsible for the whole picture. When each department deals with consumer returns without perspective from other teams, that can lead to a lack of cohesion. It can also lead to lost efficiency and a negative impact on the bottom line. 

By incorporating a c-suite executive that is ultimately responsible for top-to-bottom ownership of returns – and who can bring all of the different departments together to work from the same playbook – it will increase efficiency across the organization.

A Chief Returns Officer (CRO) would understand the entire journey of a return and establish policies and procedures for how to handle, ship, process, (re)package, store, and remarket it. By appointing team leads across departments and hiring helpful vendors, ideally a CRO can tackle these areas seamlessly. An important area of focus should be how to offset loss for the high costs associated with returns and keep warehouses from hitting capacity. This might include partnering with a solution provider that offers a sales channel for returned merchandise that has been slated for liquidation.

A customized B2B marketplace platform like the one B-Stock offers is one way to go. This type of marketplace solution provides:

Nine of the top 10 U.S. retailers are currently using B-Stock’s online auction platform, along with our data, insights and auction strategies to offset the high cost of consumer returns. Check out a few of our success stories.

In charge of your company’s returns process? Whether you’re a Chief Returns Officer or not, we welcome you to check out our suite of enterprise marketplaces or schedule a demo.

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