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.