Reducing Lead Times to Optimize your Returns Flow

Reducing Lead Times to Optimize your Returns Flow

    • Do you have a returns backlog?  
    • Overwhelmed by customer service requests? 
    • Looking for support during peak times?  

These are all issues that retailers commonly face with returns management. Finding solutions to these complaints can save your brand both time and money. That’s where Cycleon can help! With years of experience in reverse logistics, we understand that reducing lead times is key to optimizing any returns flow 

Getting this right will bring a whole host of benefits, including lowering your total cost of ownership, freeing up time for other operations, increasing your customer experience and improving your brand image. 

Optimizing the First Mile: 

 Optimizing the first mile is an essential step towards reducing your overall lead time. The quicker returns arrive back at a local distribution center, the better. For your customers, they will be able happy to receive their refunds faster. While for your business, costs can be saved as value recapturing services may begin quickly and the process of reselling can begin.   

Flexibility and smart solutions are key to implementing an efficient first mile in your returns process. Cycleon can help you with both as we combine both IT and logistics to optimize returns, end-to-end. Within our existing transport, warehouse and carrier networks, we can facilitate flexible solutions on both a local and global scale.  

Offering your customer convenience is what will encourage them to shop with you again. We also know that this will encourage shoppers to return unwanted items sooner, helping speed up the lead time. Here, is where omni-channel should be embraced. Make it easy for customers by encouraging multiple ways for them to return with various postal carriers, in-store, via drop off locations, or through a pick-up service. This will ensure that your returns flow works for every customer’s budget and lifestyle.   

Tackling a Returns Backlog: 

Witnessing a backlog of returns is a common issue, especially during peak times such as Christmas holidays and Black Friday sales. If these returns are not effectively registered and received, often they are left in warehouses to depreciate. Items are often in sellable condition, which could otherwise be re-routed to be resold.  

The longer returns are left to depreciate, the less value can be retrieved from these products. Causing a loss in profits from the original sale. Additionally, by failing to smartly redeploy returns, you may be missing sales opportunities and heightening the chance that the stock will end up as waste. This may also eventually harm sustainability efforts. 

Optimizing warehouse activities not only reduces lead times, but also ensures that returns may be inspected, graded and then smartly routed to where their value is best maintained. 

pexels-cowomen-2041383

Handling Customer Service Requests:   

Long waits for refunds or information about the status of a return can be frustrating for customers. To ensure that refunds can be issued as quickly as possible you need to offer clear communication channels with customer service.  

That’s where working with a returns management expert, such as Cycleon, can help. Our online portals and communication channels, with track & trace and messaging features, encourage customers to reach out online first. Offering them access to the data on their returns makes it less likely they’ll seek direct contact through customer service. Reducing the workload for your teams, which are often costly to run. 

As a returns partner, we can take care of customer service requests, leaving retailers with the extra time and money to invest in outbound operations.   

Coping with Peak Volumes:  

Once you’ve secured shorter lead times it’s important to maintain these, even during peak season. Your customers will have grown to expect a certain turnaround time, and delays may harm their image of your brand.  

This is where the existing network and experience of a returns partner comes into play. Making sure that all the above features can perform just as well during busy periods.  

Cycleon has experienced these challenges before and has the knowledge of how to overcome higher returns volumes and an increased demand on the logistics network.   

If you’ve got questions about how best to handle your consumer returns, are facing a returns backlog and want to reduce your lead times, Cycleon is here to help! Get in touch with us to discover our smart solutions that help brands build a custom and future-proof returns flow. 

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

CONTACT US!

Check out more of our posts

Reducing Lead Times to Optimize your Returns Flow

Reducing Lead Times to Optimize your Returns Flow Do you have a returns backlog?   Overwhelmed by customer service requests?  Looking for support during peak times?   These are all issues that retailers commonly face with returns management. Finding solutions to these complaints can save your brand both time and money. That’s where Cycleon can help! With years of experience in reverse logistics, we understand that reducing lead times is key to optimizing any returns flow.   Getting

Read More »

Engaging with Marketplaces Through Returns

Engaging with Marketplaces Through Returns Engaging with online marketplaces is a great way to grow your brand and expand in new markets, both faster and with less effort. Selling through marketplaces can widen your consumer base by introducing your products to new audiences through existing and familiar platforms.    To secure these benefits it is important that your returns flow can integrate with various online marketplaces and their existing setup. Here’s where working with a

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Product Returns for Slow Fashion Brands

Product Returns for Slow Fashion Brands Ecommerce continues to boom with no end in sight. The past year has seen online sales increase by almost 50%, largely as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic which has introduced new audiences and created new dependencies on ecommerce. Fashion retailers have witnessed this digital transformation first-hand.  It is widely acknowledged that the consumption of fashion products has a negative impact on the environment. Largely through the manufacturing process, where vast amounts of materials and

Read More »

Engaging with Marketplaces Through Returns

Engaging with Marketplaces Through Returns

Engaging with online marketplaces is a great way to grow your brand and expand in new markets, both faster and with less effort. Selling through marketplaces can widen your consumer base by introducing your products to new audiences through existing and familiar platforms. 

 

To secure these benefits it is important that your returns flow can integrate with various online marketplaces and their existing setup. Here’s where working with a returns management expert, such as Cycleon, can make this process easier. By providing existing solutions that are marketplace and returns policy compliant. Including returns management software and easy integrations, marketplace preferred postal carrier networks and KPIS in-line with marketplace requirements.  

    • Save time and money
    • Optimize your returns process
    • Access expertise and gain knowledge of the latest market trends
    • Simplify the process of integrating in new markets and with new marketplaces

Establishing & Growing Your Brand in New Markets

We understand that growing in a new market is both an exciting yet complex task. A process which takes a lot of time, money and resources. As your partner, our services and existing network can help your business flourish and nurture a better channel strategy. Whether this be in an existing market, a new area, or both. 

Expanding in a new market requires forward-thinking. Our experience in global reverse logistics means that we offer a solid knowledge of market trends. Investing in a future-proof returns flow, which works for both you as a brand and aligns with marketplace processes, is a costly process. A process that, if not optimized, may become cost-draining. If done well however, a strong and easy to sustain returns flow will save you money in the long run and help you to protect your bottom line and retain profits. 

Ensuring that Customer Experience is Upheld 

We understand that customer satisfaction is key. Happy customers will recommend your brand to friends and family, boosting your public image and increasing future sales. That’s why our returns solutions are catered to both retailers and their consumers.  Transparency and communication with your customers are an important step to securing customer loyalty and satisfaction. Bonding your returns solution with those of marketplaces requires the technical integration of online tools and software that reach out to communicate with customers. This often includes the status of returns, refund requests and track & trace functions. 

Solutions to Integrate your Operation with Marketplaces 

So, you’ve secured a deal to sell through an e-commerce marketplace – what next?  It’s time to integrate your brand and logistics chain with that of the marketplace. This too can be tricky without existing experience or expert help. It involves not only logistics, but also warehouse activities and online software programs. All the while, your customer experience should be kept in mind.  That’s where our well-established global network can help out. We not only have existing engagements with postal carriers and warehouses locations, but we accommodate a number of technical integrations for online software. For example, we offer a standard API to be easily consumed by ecommerce platforms, ERP systems and CRM systems such as: 
    • Manhattan 
    • Oracle 
    • Microsoft 
    • Magento 
    • Shopify 
We also offer customizable webhooks to update these systems with required data. This includes tracking, refunds, return reasons, location and payment. Whether you need assistance with technical or logistical integration with marketplaces, we’re here to help and advise on the best option for your brand and goals.  In short, engaging with online marketplaces can be a springboard to establishing and growing your brand within new regions. This is a process that should be invested in, as it increases revenue channels, brand exposure and consumer reach. Although, as mentioned, this process can become complex and perhaps a cost-drainer, if not done effectively and efficiently.    Reach out to learn how we can create a custom solution to help your brand develop in new and multiple regions. 

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

CONTACT US!

Check out more of our posts

Reducing Lead Times to Optimize your Returns Flow

Reducing Lead Times to Optimize your Returns Flow Do you have a returns backlog?   Overwhelmed by customer service requests?  Looking for support during peak times?   These are all issues that retailers commonly face with returns management. Finding solutions to these complaints can save your brand both time and money. That’s where Cycleon can help! With years of experience in reverse logistics, we understand that reducing lead times is key to optimizing any returns flow.   Getting

Read More »

Engaging with Marketplaces Through Returns

Engaging with Marketplaces Through Returns Engaging with online marketplaces is a great way to grow your brand and expand in new markets, both faster and with less effort. Selling through marketplaces can widen your consumer base by introducing your products to new audiences through existing and familiar platforms.    To secure these benefits it is important that your returns flow can integrate with various online marketplaces and their existing setup. Here’s where working with a

Read More »

Product Returns for Slow Fashion Brands

Product Returns for Slow Fashion Brands Ecommerce continues to boom with no end in sight. The past year has seen online sales increase by almost 50%, largely as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic which has introduced new audiences and created new dependencies on ecommerce. Fashion retailers have witnessed this digital transformation first-hand.  It is widely acknowledged that the consumption of fashion products has a negative impact on the environment. Largely through the manufacturing process, where vast amounts of materials and

Read More »

Product Returns for Slow Fashion Brands

Product Returns for Slow Fashion Brands

Ecommerce continues to boom with no end in sight. The past year has seen online sales increase by almost 50%, largely as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic which has introduced new audiences and created new dependencies on ecommerce. Fashion retailers have witnessed this digital transformation first-hand. 

It is widely acknowledged that the consumption of fashion products has a negative impact on the environment. Largely through the manufacturing process, where vast amounts of materials and resources are used for production, and the carbon-emissions associated with the transportation of these products for both order deliveries and returns. 

Yet many fashion retailers are now taking action to reduce their carbon footprint in a joint global effort to stamp down this impact. This includes a rising wave of brands who are focused on promoting the sale of used or recycled garments, alongside slow-fashion brands who are producing new products responsibly, engaging also with opportunities for circularity.  

Slow-fashion brands encourage life-long purchases through timeless design, good quality products made of durable materials, and sale-free seasonless collections. Supported by greener delivery and return options, these brands offer consumers a more environmentally conscious way of shopping new.  

Supporting a Circular Commerce Model 

One way that slow and sustainable fashion brands can reduce their environmental footprint further is through embracing circular opportunities. Taking product returns as an example, this could mean making sure that each returned item is assigned a new purpose – not letting anything become waste produce or sent to landfill. 

At Cycleon, we support retailers by helping them engage with the circular economy by facilitating a returns flow that includes activities such as product reconditioning, re-routing and recycling. All of which assign a new purpose to each return and keep these products operating within a circular life cycle. Through resale or repurposing, items are not wasted. Within our global network we also offer these services locally, to avoid unnecessary long-haul transportation. 

These circular business models, alongside the use of responsible materials, have been highlighted by the likes of McKinsey & Company as a way that brands can decrease their environmental impact. 

Meeting Consumer Demands 

The sustainability and over-consumption aspect of fashion commerce is growing in the minds of consumers, as well as retailers. More customers than ever before seem to have an appetite for transparency when it comes to sustainability. Clarity over the production of products, but also around how it arrives at their doorstep. Studies have shown that this is especially true for younger generations, with over 60% of Generation Z shoppers opting for sustainable brands, despite their higher price point. 

The rising popularity of slow fashion brands is raising the bar when it comes to sustainability and consumer demands. Leading the way in transforming the entire fashion purchasing process, from using more eco-friendly resources in manufacturing, increasing product quality, eliminating ‘trends’ in design and securing greener options through smart partnerships for delivery and returns. All in all, encouraging their consumer base to be more considerate about what they buy, while making sure that when they do spend, it’s on products that have been carefully crafted with the environmental impact in mind at each stage. 

 

 

Investments for Both Retailers and Consumers 

Fashion brands turning their attention to sustainability realize that investments need to be made in order to reduce the industry’s negative social and environmental impact. Although it may cost more for retailers to use higher grade materials, alternative manufacturing methods and smart technology, these more often than not pay off in the end. Whether this be through long-term cost-savings, customer experience improvement, or brand image. 

Slow fashion brands must also encourage consumers to opt for the greener options when it comes to fashion consumption. For example, although an item of clothing may be marked at a higher price point, the lifespan of this item will likely mean that in terms of cost per wear, the item becomes cheaper in the end than a fast-fashion item. 

For this reason, it’s also essential for sustainable fashion brands to make sure that there is a green option available for logistics, and especially aftersales. A consumer purchasing from a slow fashion brand expects this product to serve them for a long time. That’s why it’s important, that if this item does not meet expectations, for one reason or another, a sustainable way of returning is established too. 

Green Logistics Powered by Smart Technology 

To return a product sustainably there’s a lot of elements that must work together seamlessly. This requires a large network of partners comprised of postal carriers, transport providers, warehouse facilities, technology and software, to name but a few. 

Automating this process wherever possible not only quickens the return lead-time, but it also captures data which can be used to ensure that consumer returns are being handled responsibly and in the most sustainable manner available. 

At Cycleon, for example, we use data capturing during the returns process to smartly route items to an end destination that recaptures its value and keeps the item within the product lifecycle. Whether this is re-routing products back to store or outlets for resale, or to a local recycling location. Smart-routing, in short, combines the best of IT and logistics power to optimize the returns flow. 

ASKET: Slow Fashion and Returns Handling with Cycleon   


We cannot shop our way to sustainability, only by reducing product output and decreasing consumption habits, can we turn around issues surrounding the fashion industry. – ASKET  


Leading the pack in terms of slow fashion is ASKET, whose timeless clothing pieces encourage consumers to shop consciously and responsibly with durable products, seasonless design and sustainable packaging. They’re also transparent with their customers about the eco footprint of their purchases through the innovative impact receipt , which is designed to discourage over consumption. 

With returns, ASKET takes steps towards reducing their overall return rate by offering tools during pre-sales such as the size finder which is not only used by customers to ensure they’re getting the right size the first time, but it also reduces the likelihood that the item will be returned because of incorrect sizing. 

As Brexit approached in late 2020, ASKET, a Cycleon customer, integrated quickly with our return solution to also offer their customers in the UK with local returns handling. Ensuring that they could continue to meet customers’ expectation in terms of free and fast refunds and exchanges. With Cycleon’s support, returned items are consolidated in the UK before being sent back in bulk to Europe; a greener transport option which avoids multiple, or unnecessary, shipments.    

Cycleon X ASKET 

    • Local returns handling
    • Consolidated shipments
    • A global and easily scalable returns solution
    • A joint commitment to optimize returns flows

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

CONTACT US!

Check out more of our posts

Reducing Lead Times to Optimize your Returns Flow

Reducing Lead Times to Optimize your Returns Flow Do you have a returns backlog?   Overwhelmed by customer service requests?  Looking for support during peak times?   These are all issues that retailers commonly face with returns management. Finding solutions to these complaints can save your brand both time and money. That’s where Cycleon can help! With years of experience in reverse logistics, we understand that reducing lead times is key to optimizing any returns flow.   Getting

Read More »

Engaging with Marketplaces Through Returns

Engaging with Marketplaces Through Returns Engaging with online marketplaces is a great way to grow your brand and expand in new markets, both faster and with less effort. Selling through marketplaces can widen your consumer base by introducing your products to new audiences through existing and familiar platforms.    To secure these benefits it is important that your returns flow can integrate with various online marketplaces and their existing setup. Here’s where working with a

Read More »

Product Returns for Slow Fashion Brands

Product Returns for Slow Fashion Brands Ecommerce continues to boom with no end in sight. The past year has seen online sales increase by almost 50%, largely as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic which has introduced new audiences and created new dependencies on ecommerce. Fashion retailers have witnessed this digital transformation first-hand.  It is widely acknowledged that the consumption of fashion products has a negative impact on the environment. Largely through the manufacturing process, where vast amounts of materials and

Read More »

Whitepaper: Consumer ‘Return Reasons’

Whitepaper: Consumer 'Return Reasons'

For retailers, returns are an unavoidable daily occurrence. For purchases made in-stores return rates hover around 9%, rising to 30% for e-commerce orders. That’s 1 in 4 online orders that are likely to end up as a return, and this is costly for brands. Not only operationally and logistically, but also in terms of product value depreciation.

Returns management requires investment to get right. However, when this flow is optimized with automation, strategic partners and expertise, it can bring a whole host of benefits to both the retailer and their customers.

What are the most common return reasons?
Learn more in Cycleon white paper.

Check out more of our posts

Reducing Lead Times to Optimize your Returns Flow

Reducing Lead Times to Optimize your Returns Flow Do you have a returns backlog?   Overwhelmed by customer service requests?  Looking for support during peak times?   These are all issues that retailers commonly face with returns management. Finding solutions to these complaints can save your brand both time and money. That’s where Cycleon can help! With years of experience in reverse logistics, we understand that reducing lead times is key to optimizing any returns flow.   Getting

Read More »

Engaging with Marketplaces Through Returns

Engaging with Marketplaces Through Returns Engaging with online marketplaces is a great way to grow your brand and expand in new markets, both faster and with less effort. Selling through marketplaces can widen your consumer base by introducing your products to new audiences through existing and familiar platforms.    To secure these benefits it is important that your returns flow can integrate with various online marketplaces and their existing setup. Here’s where working with a

Read More »

Whitepaper: Consumer ‘Return Reasons’

Whitepaper: Consumer ‘Return Reasons’ For retailers, returns are an unavoidable daily occurrence. For purchases made in-stores return rates hover around 9%, rising to 30% for e-commerce orders. That’s 1 in 4 online orders that are likely to end up as a return, and this is costly for brands. Not only operationally and logistically, but also in terms of product value depreciation. Returns management requires investment to get right. However, when this flow is optimized with

Read More »

From Return to Resale: Integrating Reconditioning Activities in Your Returns Flow

From Return to Resale: Integrating Reconditioning Activities in Your Returns Flow Returns play a key role in the overall consumer buying process. The average return rate for online shopping is 30%, compared to just 9% from purchases at brick-and-mortar stores. Yet this figure is likely now much higher due to the ecommerce boom of 2020. Largely as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Resultantly many people have spent a lot more time at home and

Read More »