Holiday E-Commerce: Where Do All The Unwanted Gifts Go?
Logistics Industry December 27, 2017
It’s happened to all of us. You open up gift that you either already have, don’t want, don’t need, or it simply isn’t your size. And to prevent yourself from being wasteful, you attempt to return your item for a refund or exchange.
However, what happens if you are unable to exchange your item in a physical store? What if you must return an online item? Where will your unwanted gift go?
Studies show that while a number of factors lead to the return of an e-commerce product, the most common reasons are as followed:
Products not matching their online description
Wrong items shipped
Items damaged in transit
Product quality does not meet expectations
Therefore, before purchasing something online, you should always check for a companies return policy and take a look at reviews to verify if the product will be right for you. As some companies do not provide refunds, it is always best to fully understand the risk you are taking when buying online.
The Return Process
With a least 30% of all e-commerce orders being returned, and roughly 49% of retailers offering free return shipping, it may also interest you to know the ‘behind the scenes’ process of where unwanted gifts end up.
When a product is returned to the sender of the package, the item is processed through local postal services and shipped. Please note that while some companies will provide postage and a return package in which you can send back an item on their dollar, other companies will require that you pay for return shipping costs yourself.
Once a returned package is received by a company or logistics centre, the item will then be scanned into the system, inspected, and be reported as returned. If the item has been returned due to shipping or product damages, the item will be assessed, investigated, and potentially thrown away. If an item is in perfect condition and was returned for a reason unrelated to any mechanical or physical abnormalities, the item will likely be repackaged and stored for another person to purchase.
If the item is returned as per the return policy, the logistics centre will advise the supplier and organize a refund or credit. If the item is returned and does not follow the policy, the customer will be notified and a credit will likely not be granted.
How Companies Can Prevent Returns
If you are a business owner that experiences frequent returns, especially during the holiday and post-holiday season, here are a few things that will help you to save on return costs, stresses, and losses:
Provide product data that is honest and transparent.
Encourage past customers to leave product reviews that will help others to make an educated purchasing decision.
Allow for in-store returns when possible.
Communicate your return and exchange policies in a clear and transparent way.
Partner with a reliable and experienced logistics fulfillment company.
How McKenna Can Help Handle Your Returns
Prepared For Holiday & Return Season
As discussed in our article, ‘Challenges of Electronics Logistics’, the seasonality of electronic goods begins in September - as suppliers require more storage, more distribution, and more shipping in preparation of Christmas. However, more product going out equates to the potential for more returns – a challenge faced by logistics companies all over the world.
At McKenna Logistics, we see a surge every year between January and February of gift returns. With this knowledge, and our years of experience in the industry, we are able to plan ahead to adapt our space to accommodate an increase in inventory and to prepare our staff with foresight.
Returns Prevented Through Accurate Shipping
As a skilled 3PL, we know the products in our warehouses through and through and we label and process each item with specific and unique part numbers that maximize organizing, picking, and shipping efficiency.
Through our comprehensive numbering system, we track and make sure that every part is numbered clearly and in order – saving time and preventing any shipping mishaps that may cause someone to return a gift.
By preventing shipping errors, people are less likely to return an item as they receive exactly what they expected to receive. This is critical in maintaining trust with customers and in building consumer loyalty.
Dedicated Staff That Understands The Product
At McKenna, we are fully equipped to handle the demands and stresses of holiday e-commerce shipments and returns. While some logistics centres cannot provide the expanded space requirements of the holidays, McKenna has the flexibility to accommodate any product at any time of year.
We also support a staff all year round and do not hire inexperienced individuals just to help us to get through the holiday rush. This ensures that we don’t run into any staffing issues with temporary workers who may not know your product as well as one of our crewmembers who deal with your inventory on a daily basis.