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.

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2.  Local Solutions

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

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3. Clean Energy

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

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4. Digital Alternatives

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

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5. Responsible Recycling

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

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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

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

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…

Read More »

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. 

 

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#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.  

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#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

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

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…

Read More »

Whitepaper: Consumer returns during and after COVID-19

Whitepaper: Consumer returns during and after COVID-19

Drawing conclusions from the results of our global market study into how consumers around the world have preferred to return during the Covid-19 pandemic, and how they plan to afterward. Featuring insights into customer returns preferences with regards to topics such as first-mile transport, label and packaging options, and sustainability. How do customers in your key markets prefer to return?

Learn more in Cycleon white paper.

Check out more of our posts

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

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…

Read More »

Tackling the Issue of Serial Returners

Serial returning can be a major drain on your profit margins. So, it’s important to understand why this happens and what can be done to reduce how often it occurs. Doing so will help your business to retain the value of original sales and make your returns process less costly.  

Multiple returns from the same consumer are often a result of flexible returns policies. As well as the rise of the try-before-you-buy culture that has emerged through e-commerce. Although these policies are customer-friendly and often very positive for your customers’ experience, high volumes of returns are a cost-drainer. It’s therefore valuable to know how to optimize your returns process from start-to-finish, to reduce your overall returns and ensure that unwanted items can be re-directed to retain their value.   

Read on to discover the three kinds of serial returners your brand will most likely recognize. By understanding their shopping behaviors, you’ll be better equipped to adapt your returns solution to reduce returns volumes, while maintaining customer satisfaction levels.  

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The ‘Use-It and Return-It’ Shopper  

Safe in the knowledge that they can return easily and cheaply, some shoppers have taken to buying and using items, before returning them for a refund. This is known as ‘wardrobing’, and it’s especially prevalent within fashion ecommerce. Oftentimes items are only worn once, for a special occasion or for a social media post, before being returned.  

Naturally, this behaviour is something that brands wish to contain. The logistics process involved with high return volumes is expensive. Additionally, used then returned items will no longer maintain their original value, making them harder to sell onwards with the same profit margin. 

In short, wardrobing is costly for your business. Some brands have already made steps to tackle this behaviour by implementing the following:  

    • Contacting customers who return often to make them aware of the situation. 
    • Adding more secure tags to clothes which indicate when items have been worn. 
    • More stringent product checks on returned items. 
    • Becoming more transparent in the returns policy about the issue of wardrobing. 

To avoid wardrobing, it’s important to walk the fine line between a flexible, customer-pleasing returns policy and a process that will minimize serial returning to maintain profits. 

The ‘Indecisive’ Shopper 

Flexible and customer-focused returns policies, such as free delivery and returns, often emboldens people to order more than they would without these perks.  

Studies have shown that, on average, ecommerce has a 20% returns rate. With approximately 1 in 4 items ending up as returns, shoppers who order higher volumes of products will ultimately end up sending more back.   

Some customers will order many items with the mindset of try-before-you-buy. Essentially turning their homes into the fitting room. Others will make larger orders to try out multiple sizes of the same item.  

To reduce the operational costs associated with reverse logistics, it is useful for your brand to consider ways to reduce the overall number of returns. Reducing this volume will spare unnecessary costs. But to minimize this, steps must be taken to discourage your customers from making bulk orders with the intent of returning several unwanted items.  

Here, it’s beneficial to turn your focus to pre-sale activities. Make sure that items are shown clearly and authentically online, with detailed product information and accurate sizing charts. The more information you provide your customer with during the online sales process, the more confident you can make your shoppers about their purchases. Reducing this level of uncertainty will discourage your customers from over-ordering unnecessarily.   

The ‘Unexpected Items’ Shopper 

Another factor which may encourage repeat returns could be inconsistencies on a product-level. Or, as previously mentioned, a lack of clear production information online.  

When online shopping, customers rely on the information on your website when determining whether to buy something. If this information lacks clarity or transparency, the risk of that sale ending up as a return increases. Therefore, it’s imperative as a brand that you offer features such as detailed product descriptions, high quality photos and accurate size guides to ensure that your customers are not left with an unexpected item on their doorstep.  

Additionally, it’s also important to keep your products consistent in terms of aspects such as sizing and quality. Not only will this help to build a loyal customer base and encourage future sales, but it will lessen the chance that a customer receives an item not as described, or that does not meet expectations.

Meeting your customers’ expectations on a product-level will help to reduce the likelihood of repeat returns by ensuring that nothing is falling short of expectations. 

In all, the best defence against serial returning is to implement features that prevent returns within the pre-sales process online. The more transparent and informative you can be with your customer, the better. It is also worth re-evaluating the fine line between flexible policies that add to customer satisfaction levels and cost-draining activities that this flexibility may encourage.   

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

CONTACT US!

Check out more of our posts

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

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…

Read More »

3 Ways the Return Process Can Help Reduce the Environmental Footprint of Commerce

3 Ways the Return Process Can Help Reduce the Environmental Footprint of Commerce

The production and sale of newly produced consumer items is not a sustainable practice. The manufacturing, transportation and packaging of these goods alone is impactful on the environment. A process that not only requires many materials, but also vast amounts of energy, which often derive from non-renewable resources. Lately, there has been a lot of discussion on how e-commerce especially can be made more sustainable. In one survey, over 80% of participants felt that companies should be more committed to improving the environmental impact of their trade. One factor raised here in relation to commerce is the role that returns play. In short, how can a return operation be designed around, and support, the circular economy to help reduce the overall environmental impact of a commerce transaction. 

An Environmentally Conscious First Mile 

Making returns more sustainable starts right at the beginning of the journey with the customer. Offering them greener options for the first mile sets off the return process on good footing. From the moment a customer decides to return an item, there are ways to introduce sustainable actions. 

For example, allowing consumers to return online, via portals or through your website, facilitates features such as paperless return labels and the digitalization of documents such as receipts and track & track information. This dramatically reduces the use of paper materials in your supply chain, which is of course much less wasteful. 

Additionally, working with postal carriers who offer green options such as low-emission or electric vehicles in their network, is very beneficial. Collaborating with postal carriers who have a wide network is also important as you can then offer customers local drop-off point options; places consumers can walk to, or which is perhaps already along their daily travel route. The more of these drop-off points you make available for returns, the more you avoid customers making unnecessary travel journeys; driving down the vehicle emissions associated with the first mile.

Additionally, sustainability is fast becoming a leading consumer demand. A recent study found that the Covid-19 pandemic has only accelerated this, with 45% of shoppers now actively searching more sustainable shopping options.

Value Recapturing Warehouse Activities 

In warehouses and DCs there are yet more opportunities to embrace a more sustainable return process. Largely through the warehouse activities that help to recapture the value of these items. At Cycleon, we offer product grading, reconditioning and re-fulfilment options as part of our return solution that we offer to our retail partners.  

Product Grading – We assess the quality and condition of a returned item, from which a grade is assigned. If a product is still in pristine condition (A-Grade) then an ideal end destination for this return can be immediately assigned. For example, it can be re-routed to somewhere it can directly be resold. Returns of a lower quality can either be sent to outlet stores, resale platforms or reconditioned so that they meet the criteria for a higher grade.   

Reconditioning – Here we clean, repair, re-bag and re-tag items so that they can be resold to customers as new. This recaptures the value of the product and the original sale, all the while preventing these non-A-grade items from becoming waste stock. 

Re-fulfilment – In a return flow designed to integrate with the circular economy, smart re-routing is an item’s final destination in a warehouse setting. Returned products are sent to where their value will be maintained. This not only benefits retailers by protecting profit margins but it’s also a greener solution. Ensuring that returns have a second life, and do not end up as waste material.  

A Network of Localized Solutions  

An important step in securing a more sustainable return operation is to have access to a network of local solutions. Including postal carriers, warehouse activities and redistribution locations, such as stores and storage facilities. In short, the sooner returns can reach these touchpoints, the less emissions are spent transporting these items longer distances.  

The consolidation of returns is also essential to this process. Grouping items together that are of a similar nature, from the same brand, or heading to the same destination, also helps to avoid unnecessary and oversees/cross-border transport. 

Keeping returns within a local circular economy is not only beneficial to the environment, but also for customers. They can expect quicker lead and refund times as a result, an attribute which is highly valued and improves consumer experience.  

At Cycleon we’re committed to reducing the environmental footprint associated with returns. By introducing greener options and planet-proof solutions here, we can help to also improve the overall sustainability of commerce. A goal which retailers, suppliers, and customers, are striving towards together.  

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

CONTACT US!

Check out more of our posts

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

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…

Read More »