Customers increasingly expect just as much out of their return experience as their initial shopping experience with eCommerce retailers. But reverse logistics isn’t easy, particularly for warehouses that haven’t made returns a priority. The danger is that ignoring this part of your business can put it in jeopardy. Here is what you need to know about reverse logistics and how using mobile-powered return stations can improve customer satisfaction.
What is Reverse Logistics?
Reverse logistics is also known as returns management. It is the process of guiding inventory back into the warehouse that is returned by customers for a variety of reasons:
- Mistaken order
- Damaged item
- Wrong size or color
- Recalled items
- Products for recycling
The process of reverse logistics can be complex. It starts with a customer contacting your facility to make the return. The customer follows provided directions for the shipment of the product back to the warehouse, which usually includes tracking.
Once the item arrives at the warehouse, the facility must evaluate it to decide what to do with it. Is it damaged, and can it be repaired? Should it be discarded? Can it go directly back into inventory? Is it eligible for recycling? Finally, if the order qualifies, the customer receives a refund.
The Relationship Between Customer Satisfaction and Reverse Logistics
Instead of treating reverse logistics as a burden, it should be viewed as part of doing business. Further, perfecting the process is the ideal opportunity to improve your relationship with your customers and build brand loyalty. Why? Your customers care about this part of your business just as much as that sales part.
Roughly 30% of all online products purchased are returned for one reason or another. And 92% of consumers say they would purchase from the same business again if the return process was easy. In fact, 67% of online shoppers check the returns page of an eCommerce business before they make a purchase.
Implementing a Better Returns Process to Serve Your Customers
Now that you know how much your customers care about returns, how can you improve your reverse logistics process? Some of the things that have a direct impact on your customers include:
Clearly Stated Returns Policy
Avoid being vague about your company’s returns policy. Create a clear policy that customers can find on your website and one that they will see again at checkout. If you are asking them to pay for return shipping, let them know up front instead of making it a surprise later. Also, clearly state the number of days a customer has to request a return and refund.
Don’t make your customers jump through too many hoops for a return, such as having to pick up the phone and make a call. Being able to print automated shipping labels is increasingly common with eCommerce businesses or allowing in-store returns whenever possible. This saves you and your customers money and time when processing returns.
Holding onto your customer’s money longer than you need to is going to cause frustration and dissatisfaction. When a customer makes a return, consider refunding their money as soon as they ship the product back to your warehouse or the moment it is processed.
Challenges with Reverse Logistics for Warehouses
Even though it’s vital for customer satisfaction, returns can place a significant burden on warehouses. When a customer returns an item, it disrupts the warehouse operation’s well-oiled machine. Returns disrupt labor, confuse inventory counts, and create a higher chance of errors.
To address these challenges, the reverse logistics process must be completely integrated with the business’s regular inventory management system. Treating reverse logistics as an afterthought will only increase costs, create delays, frustrate staff, and lead to customer dissatisfaction. One of the ways to address this is by using mobile-powered return stations for your reverse logistics activities.
How Mobile-Powered Return Stations Improve Customer Satisfaction
There’s nothing simple about reverse logistics, particularly when you are trying to perfect the process of receiving, storing, picking, packing, and processing incoming eCommerce orders. But, when you apply many of the same principles to the reverse logistics process, you’ll get better results and improve customer satisfaction.
More and more warehouses are using mobile-powered carts to boost efficiency and reduce costs. These same carts can also be turned into mobile-powered return stations.
A mobile-powered return station can reduce the complex workflows associated with returns. Returned products are generally provided with tracking, so both customers and your business know where items are as they move back through the supply chain. Once they re-enter your warehouse, your mobile-powered return station can be positioned in the right spot to process the items.
Instead of using clipboards and spreadsheets, workers have the information they need at their fingertips to process returns the moment they re-enter the warehouse. This creates a smooth reverse logistics flow, allowing customers to receive fast refunds and your business to recapture value in those products wherever possible. Even better, your customers remain happy and are more likely to purchase from you again and recommend your business to others.
Newcastle Systems has pioneered the warehouse industry with the introduction of its line of Powered Carts, allowing workers to maximize productivity anywhere on the warehouse floor. These advanced systems have made us the go-to resource for mobile productivity solutions in the industry.
Want to learn more about how mobile-powered carts and mobile-powered return stations can improve customer satisfaction? Contact us today to schedule a demo and get a quote.