The importance of flexible shipping options for consumer returns

The importance of flexible shipping options for consumer returns

A broad and flexible shipping network is just as important for returns as it is for deliveries. Especially in an age where speed and convenience are at the top of consumer’s minds. 

By being selective and partnering with a variety of postal carriers, brands can ensure that they’re tapping into the best services for their customers, as well as themselves. As each carrier offers different features, such as fast ‘next day’ shipping, green transport options, local drop-off points and lockers, to name but a few, brand can ensure they’re creating the most relevant and custom returns flow for their operations and customer base.

At Cycleon, we work closely with e-commerce brands, using our existing network of postal carrier partners, to secure the most seamless return streams, globally. 

Read on to learn about some of the key benefits to offering a wide variety of return shipping options.

blog photo oct 2021

Local and Convenient Return Shipping Options

Whether consumers are in remote locations, urban areas, or anywhere in between, their return experience should be consistent and convenient. With 76% of consumers indicating that they prefer local returns options, it’s clear that this is a highly valued feature and one which brands should aim to meet to secure customer satisfaction.

As 79% of consumers state they have access to a local drop off service, most often postal providers partner with local businesses to create these package access points. Yet, depending on the provider and their service, these may vary. Not only in terms of locations, but also price points, transport type and estimated delivery times.

As no two customers are alike, it’s important to have a variety of postal carriers, and their diverse set of services, to appeal to each type of customer, their lifestyle, budget and preferences. For example, one customer may value a greener way to return through a postal carrier using clean energy vehicles, whereas another may prioritize a low price or fast return delivery lead times.

Teaming up with a host of these providers will ensure that each customer has access to a local returns option that handily fits in to their day-to-day life. An experience that falls outside of this may be seen as an inconvenience and reflect poorly on the brand. Perhaps even depriving them of potential future sales through return shoppers or via recommendations. 

How to Cope with Peak Season Returns

 

A reality universally acknowledged by retailers selling online is that many channels fall under pressure within a short space of time during the final months of each year as peak season rolls around. In the approach to Christmas, it’s obviously expected that more people will be shopping online, for gifts or holiday preparations. Yet when this coincides with sales during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, order volumes skyrocket.

Peak season 2020 saw an increased popularity due to the pandemic as more people chose, or had no other option, than to shop from home. A trend that is likely to spill over into this year’s festivities. Although numbers vary, it’s clear there is increased use of ecommerce channels during this time. This year, for example, it’s expected that up to 41% of German consumers intend to buy on Black Friday.

With sudden order volume increases come higher returns volumes too. If not optimized, returns channels may become overwhelmed during peak, leading to delays in customers receiving refunds, and brands being able to resell desirable ‘in-season’ stock.

The postal logistics-side of this returns flow is essential to get right. Brands with access to numerous carriers, across a variety of locations, have the luxury of flexibility during this busy period. If one channel becomes too busy, another can be utilized so that the customer is unaffected by the sudden volume increases.

Sustainable Return Options 

Alongside convenience and price, sustainability is now valued highly by consumers. For example, a recent study revealed that 75% of those questioned wanted access to a more sustainable way to return. Of those, around half also said they would pay to guarantee this service.

 

Brands failing to meet this requirement may lose out to competitors who do. Plus, it’s in everyone’s best interest, including brands, to ensure that the returns network has less of an impact of the environment.

blog photo 2 october 2021

The environmental impact of ecommerce is a joint responsibility to tackle amongst brands, postal providers, and their consumers. Collaboration here is key which is another reason why retailers should look to partnerships with shipping providers. Some offer green transport options, while others may help reduce emissions by providing very accessible drop-off points that most customers can simply walk or travel short distances to.

Of course, no returns at all are the greenest form of returns. But this service remains essential to the overall sales experience, so it’s important that brands use the correct partners for their reverse logistics operations to ensure that the process is less detrimental in terms of emissions. 

Quick, Convenient and Green Returns Can Co-Exist

The logistics side to returns is essential to get right to create an overall seamless return experience, for customers and brands themselves. A flow that is quick, convenient, and sustainably driven.

Partnerships and collaboration with local, national and international postal carriers are vital to this optimization. To find out which carriers and services are already existing within Cycleon’s network, reach out for more information. 

Get ready to the peak season 2021!

Looking for some additional quick tips and tricks on how to optimize your return operations ahead of the coming months? Check out our leading products online, or reach out to our experts for a discovery call. Contact us!

Want to learn more about how Cycleon can improve your returns process?

CONTACT US!

Check out more of our posts

The importance of flexible shipping options for consumer returns

A broad and flexible shipping network is just as important for returns as it is for deliveries. Especially in an age where speed and convenience are at the top of consumer’s minds. By being selective and partnering with a variety of postal carriers, brands can ensure that they’re tapping into the best services for their customers, as well as themselves. As each carrier offers different features, such as fast ‘next day’ shipping, green transport options, local drop-off points and lockers, to name but a few, brand can ensure they’re creating the most relevant and custom returns flow for their operations and customer base.

Read More »

Cycleon’s Peak Season Toolkit

How can returns be handled more sustainably this peak season?

In a recent poll, we asked what would be the biggest challenge brands would face this peak. With the second most popular answer, 31% of respondents answered that handling returns sustainably would be the greatest challenge.

To learn more about this, check out our quick tips below to discover more about how to approach this peak season in a greener way!

Read More »

QUICK TIPS: How to Achieve More Sustainable Returns This Peak Season

How can returns be handled more sustainably this peak season?

In a recent poll, we asked what would be the biggest challenge brands would face this peak. With the second most popular answer, 31% of respondents answered that handling returns sustainably would be the greatest challenge.

To learn more about this, check out our quick tips below to discover more about how to approach this peak season in a greener way!

Read More »

Cycleon’s Peak Season Toolkit

Last year e-tailers witnessed their first ‘pandemic peak’. The heightened volumes usually seen throughout peak season were exacerbated by the rise in popularity and usage of e-commerce channels during the pandemic.

As a result of store closures, peak season began earlier and lasted longer with consumers buying and returning online purchases in higher numbers and over an extended period. The same is expected for 2021, with online shopping most likely remaining as the dominant form of commerce for a second year.

Looking for new tools and tips to use this peak season? Read on to learn about just a few of our products and solutions that can help your brand tackle peak season optimally this year…

Postal Carrier Network

With a vast partner network of postal carriers and services, we can reduce the likelihood that your consumer’s returns will face delays. If one carrier is overwhelmed, we can easily switch our clients to an alternative carrier to keep lead times as short as possible.

carriers pic

Paperless Labels

Our quick and convenient paperless returns labels not only reduces paper waste but also offers consumers a better overall returns experience. Additionally, such products automize the return process, facilitating a smooth, data-driven reverse logistics flow.

paperless pic

Storage Capabilities

With networks and facilities often overwhelmed during peak, the ability to store returned items is beneficial. Short-term storage solutions give brands a longer window to decide where these items should be redirected to retain value and prevents these volumes from piling up in their own distribution centers.

storage pic

Data and Reporting

Hundreds of data events can be captured during the return process. This is critical information during peak season. Brands can use each set of product and returns data to make strategic decisions and forecast for future seasons. Transparency over each return gives full control to brands during this busy time.

reporting pic

Get ready to the peak season 2021!

Looking for some additional quick tips and tricks on how to optimize your return operations ahead of the coming months? Check out our leading products online, or reach out to our experts for a discovery call. Contact us!

Want to learn more about how Cycleon can improve your returns process?

CONTACT US!

Check out more of our posts

The importance of flexible shipping options for consumer returns

A broad and flexible shipping network is just as important for returns as it is for deliveries. Especially in an age where speed and convenience are at the top of consumer’s minds. By being selective and partnering with a variety of postal carriers, brands can ensure that they’re tapping into the best services for their customers, as well as themselves. As each carrier offers different features, such as fast ‘next day’ shipping, green transport options, local drop-off points and lockers, to name but a few, brand can ensure they’re creating the most relevant and custom returns flow for their operations and customer base.

Read More »

Cycleon’s Peak Season Toolkit

How can returns be handled more sustainably this peak season?

In a recent poll, we asked what would be the biggest challenge brands would face this peak. With the second most popular answer, 31% of respondents answered that handling returns sustainably would be the greatest challenge.

To learn more about this, check out our quick tips below to discover more about how to approach this peak season in a greener way!

Read More »

QUICK TIPS: How to Achieve More Sustainable Returns This Peak Season

How can returns be handled more sustainably this peak season?

In a recent poll, we asked what would be the biggest challenge brands would face this peak. With the second most popular answer, 31% of respondents answered that handling returns sustainably would be the greatest challenge.

To learn more about this, check out our quick tips below to discover more about how to approach this peak season in a greener way!

Read More »

QUICK TIPS: How to Achieve More Sustainable Returns This Peak Season

QUICK TIPS: How to Achieve More Sustainable Returns This Peak Season

How can returns be handled more sustainably this peak season?

In a recent poll, we asked what would be the biggest challenge brands would face this peak. With the second most popular answer, 31% of respondents answered that handling returns sustainably would be the greatest challenge.

To learn more about this, check out our quick tips below to discover more about how to approach this peak season in a greener way!

1.Circular Returns

Don’t let your returns go to waste. Ensure each returned item can have a new function or end destination through resale and re-purposing.

circular returns image

2.  Local Solutions

Keep returns operations local to reduce the C02 emissions associated with long-haul or cross-border transport.

local solutions image

3. Clean Energy

Ensure your first-mile transport is supported by suppliers that embrace clean energy such as electric vehicles or carbon-free options.

clean energy image

4. Digital Alternatives

Embracing digital solutions, such as paperless labels, reduces paper usage and makes the returns process more automated and seamless.

digital alternatives image

5. Responsible Recycling

When returned items cannot be resold, it’s important that they’re recycled correctly and locally to lower the environmental impact.

responsible recycling image

Greener returns solutions with Cycleon…

Outperforming competitors and impressing your consumer base during peak season is a great way to improve customer lifetime value and encourage shoppers to become repeat spenders. By offering your customers an optimized returns flow, along with greener options, during the busiest time of year you’ll build trust and reputation in the market. 

At Cycleon, we offer an array of products that combine IT and logistics to secure robust returns flows for our clients, through peak and throughout the rest of the year, worldwide. Looking for some expertise and insights ahead of peak? Get in touch! 

Want to learn more about how Cycleon can improve your returns process?

CONTACT US!

Check out more of our posts

The importance of flexible shipping options for consumer returns

A broad and flexible shipping network is just as important for returns as it is for deliveries. Especially in an age where speed and convenience are at the top of consumer’s minds. By being selective and partnering with a variety of postal carriers, brands can ensure that they’re tapping into the best services for their customers, as well as themselves. As each carrier offers different features, such as fast ‘next day’ shipping, green transport options, local drop-off points and lockers, to name but a few, brand can ensure they’re creating the most relevant and custom returns flow for their operations and customer base.

Read More »

Cycleon’s Peak Season Toolkit

How can returns be handled more sustainably this peak season?

In a recent poll, we asked what would be the biggest challenge brands would face this peak. With the second most popular answer, 31% of respondents answered that handling returns sustainably would be the greatest challenge.

To learn more about this, check out our quick tips below to discover more about how to approach this peak season in a greener way!

Read More »

QUICK TIPS: How to Achieve More Sustainable Returns This Peak Season

How can returns be handled more sustainably this peak season?

In a recent poll, we asked what would be the biggest challenge brands would face this peak. With the second most popular answer, 31% of respondents answered that handling returns sustainably would be the greatest challenge.

To learn more about this, check out our quick tips below to discover more about how to approach this peak season in a greener way!

Read More »

5 Returns Predictions for Peak Season 2021

5 Returns Predictions for Peak Season 2021

With e-commerce still dominating the retail sphere throughout the pandemic, peak season 2021 is sure to be as busy a time as ever for brands selling online. The prominence of e-commerce channels is growing every day and they’re set to account for over 20% of global retail sales by 2023. With this growth trajectory in mind, the challenge of how to handle the returns associated with these sales only heightens. Especially during peak season, which always sees both order and returns volumes skyrocket. Considering this, how will peak season 2021 play out, and how can your brand best handle consumer returns during this time? Read on to learn our key insights… 

peak predictions pic 1

#1 Multiple returns channels will need to co-exist to optimally manage peak volumes. 

There are many ways for consumers to return and their preferences vary largely per geography and demographic. In our global study into how customers have chosen to return during the Covid-19 pandemic, and how they plan to afterward, this was revealed. For example, 39% of the consumers we surveyed globally indicated that they’d prefer to drop-off returns to a local postal point. Whereas 14% indicated that brick-and-mortar retail stores were their preferred first-mile channel.  

With variety and convenience of primary importance, offering multiple and diverse returns streams for your customers is essential. Especially during busy periods such as peak season. Yet this diversity may add complexity to the returns process, as each channel can require a different approach, collaborations, or products to ensure its success. If an omnichannel reverse logistics flow is not optimized, consumers may receive an inconsistent returns experience. 

That’s why it’s essential for brands to be able to offer customers, no matter where they’re located, an array of returns options. Whether this be ways to return, to a selection of postal carriers to choose from. To co-ordinate this successfully, e-commerce sellers need to invest in their returns process and first-mile operations. In doing so, both brands and customers will benefit from an increased consumer experience and reduced lead times. 

 

pexels-photo-6634186

#2 Returns data will help drive successful peak operations.  

With every return generating thousands of data events, which do you act on? Turning these insights into actions such as creating visibility in a returns network, updating consumers on the status of their return, and triggering activities such as refunds and exchanges, will help brands navigate peak season more optimally. 

For example, when customers initiate a return online, they can indicate why they’re returning a product. Trends can be drawn from the answers and can be used to lower the overall returns volume in the future. Let’s say many consumers are returning the same item due to inconsistent quality, then brands can look at the production of these and decide if they should be changed to lower return rates. In fact, 32% of customers who provided a return reason said they did not want to keep their order due to the product not meeting expectations. For reasons such as incorrect sizing, a faulty item or product received not as described online.  

Shipping track and trace will also provide data that can help returns run more smoothly. If customers are provided with clear and concise updates about the status of their return, they’ll be less likely to reach out to your customer service team. This is especially helpful during peak season where time and resources are often stretched to cope with heightened order and returns volumes , as well as customer demands.  

#3 Convenience and sustainability will be equally important to many consumers. 

Over the years online shopping has grown so much in popularity largely due to the conveniences it offers. Whether this be free transport costs, pay later options, or next day delivery, the modern consumer highly values these features and will more likely return to shop again with a brand that offers them. In relation to returns, one study revealed that as high as 80%+ of respondents would become repeat spenders with a brand if free returns were offered, showing the importance of cost convenience for consumers. 

However, globally we’re all becoming aware of, and engaged with, the growing need for greener and more environmentally friendly options in our every lives. But when it comes to e-commerce buying and selling actions, convenience and sustainability don’t often go hand in hand. For example, quick transport, cross-border shipping and product waste are all ways in that ecommerce operations can be damaging to the environment.  It’s indeed possible to secure greener e-commerce streams, but it takes a little extra attention and investment.  

As much as convenience is at the tops of the mind of consumers, sustainability is fast rising as another crucial demand. In a recent global market study, we uncovered that around 75% of the online shoppers we questioned, both in Europe and North America, were willing to give up convenient features, such as a fast refund, if their return was processed more sustainably. 

The need for a more eco-friendly returns flow is only more important during busy periods such as the holiday peak, when more parcels are being transported for delivery and returns, than any other time of the year. 

#4 Local returns options will facilitate faster lead-times. 

One way that both convenience and greener options may be satisfied this peak season is through a localized returns network. Keeping unwanted items such as fashion or consumer electronics within their country or region of sale. By doing so cross-border transport can be avoided, along with the CO2 emissions associated with this transport, as well as additional costs for customs checks and processing.  

The holidays bring with them the busiest e-commerce period of the year with many seasonal and in-demand items being sold. As such, it’s vital that brands have a returns setup that allows for the quick redistribution and resale of these items so that they do not become ‘out of season’ and risk becoming wasteful.  

By having a more regional returns solution, supported by ‘local heroes,’ such as national postal carriers, transport and warehouse facilities, returns can be sent back locally and resold to new customers in the same market at quick speeds. Not only is long-haul transport largely avoided, but lead-times are reduced because of this too. Having access to a global network of local solutions for returns is essential for a seamless reverse logistics operation this peak.  

peak predictions pic 2

#5 Peak season will begin earlier for many brands and retailers 

Pair ordinary holiday busyness with a surge in popularity for e-commerce channels, and it’s almost certain that peak season 2021 will be one of the most demanding yet. Last year, we witnessed the first ‘pandemic peak’ which saw many postal carriers and other e-commerce channels facing overwhelming demands which lead to delays for customers 

With 2020 as an example, it’s likely customers will begin their holiday shopping earlier to avoid disappointment. As such, it’s wise for brands to do the same, and prepare their peak operations in advance to secure a consistent and pleasing experience also during the most hectic time in the e-commerce calendar.  

Peak-proof returns solutions with Cycleon… 

Outperforming competitors and impressing your consumer base during peak season is a great way to improve customer lifetime value and encourage shoppers to become repeat spenders. By offering your customers an optimized returns flow, along with greener options, during the busiest time of year you’ll build trust and reputation in the market.  

At Cycleon, we offer an array of products that combine IT and logistics to secure robust returns flows for our clients, through peak and throughout the rest of the year, worldwide. Looking for some expertise and insights ahead of peak? Get in touch!  

Want to learn more about how Cycleon can improve your returns process?

CONTACT US!

Check out more of our posts

The importance of flexible shipping options for consumer returns

A broad and flexible shipping network is just as important for returns as it is for deliveries. Especially in an age where speed and convenience are at the top of consumer’s minds. By being selective and partnering with a variety of postal carriers, brands can ensure that they’re tapping into the best services for their customers, as well as themselves. As each carrier offers different features, such as fast ‘next day’ shipping, green transport options, local drop-off points and lockers, to name but a few, brand can ensure they’re creating the most relevant and custom returns flow for their operations and customer base.

Read More »

Cycleon’s Peak Season Toolkit

How can returns be handled more sustainably this peak season?

In a recent poll, we asked what would be the biggest challenge brands would face this peak. With the second most popular answer, 31% of respondents answered that handling returns sustainably would be the greatest challenge.

To learn more about this, check out our quick tips below to discover more about how to approach this peak season in a greener way!

Read More »

QUICK TIPS: How to Achieve More Sustainable Returns This Peak Season

How can returns be handled more sustainably this peak season?

In a recent poll, we asked what would be the biggest challenge brands would face this peak. With the second most popular answer, 31% of respondents answered that handling returns sustainably would be the greatest challenge.

To learn more about this, check out our quick tips below to discover more about how to approach this peak season in a greener way!

Read More »

Business Analyst (multiple teams)

Business Analyst (multiple teams)

Full-time · Vliegend Hertlaan 71, Utrecht

Ideal candidate: Second role

Huge plus point: BA experience

Location: Utrecht, NL

International travel: 5% ✈️ (when possible)

Start date: Negotiable 📅

Reporting line: Manager Product development 👤

Collaborations: Product development team, IT squad, Product owners, business stakeholders

As a Business Analyst in the product development team you will be co-responsible for the development of new products and solutions. The goal of the role is to continuously improve the existing products by gathering the right requirements, clearly defining them and seeing the development through to the end.

 

In this role you will be part of two teams; the product development team and part of a IT squad, responsible for a specific domain of our applications and tooling. Together with the product development team you will work together with many stakeholders and clients and bring their requirements together into a fast-paced, pragmatic and iterative product design.

As part of the IT squad you are co-responsible for the effectivity of your squad in working towards the delivery of new functionality. This is done by translating business requirements to clear user stories for the developers, providing business context and acceptance/testing support.

Your focus:

  • Help building the bridge between the business & IT.
  • Translating business requirements into clear user stories.
  • Focusing on simple, iterative solutions to complex problems.
  • Makes sure the development team understands the business need and is motivated to develop the required new functionality.
  • Identifying milestones in the features that have a big impact on the organization and making sure they are accounted for and rollout out in full.
  • Participating in project planning, daily stand-up meetings (scrums), reviews, retrospectives, sprint and release planning, demos and other Scrum-related meetings.
  • Playing an active role in the refinement of user stories to ensure the context is fully understood by the IT squad.

Ideal candidate:

  • You have a master’s degree: Business Economics, strong focus on Analytics.
  • Affinity or experience with the logistics/e-commerce industry
  • Working experience with business analysis and/or product development in a fast-paced work environment.
  • Good and effective listener to your teammates. You are relatable: speaking the language of Software developers, then easily switching to the business and between multiple tasks.
  • Explaining complex material in a simpler manner and vice versa.
  • You are not going for the easy solution rather thinking things through before taking a decision.
  • You can get others on board with your enthusiasm (clients, internal stakeholders).
  • Presenting skills: public speaking & within your own team (roadmap).
  • Experience with project management and client facing communication
  • You have experience working with an IT development team and like to get into the technical details of a solution.
  • Solid organizational skills and ability to drive projects to completion.

What do we offer?

This role offers you the chance to work in a friendly, youthful and international environment, along with colleagues who will share your passion for innovation, agile-working and growth. You’ll also be able to develop your skills within the exciting and challenging market of Reverse logistics!

Our office is also super easy to get to, just a stones-throw away from the vibrant city centre of Utrecht.

Where can I apply? | Visit www.cycleon.com to learn more about our growing global business and awesome team!

Are you interested?

Apply here!

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