Av Trimble smartdelivery | Article | February 17, 2019

How Do You Handle Unannounced & Unscheduled Return Pickups?

When not managed properly, return pickup and delivery can amount to anywhere between 1 and 10% of your total supply chain cost. If you want to reduce costs associated with returns, you should focus on optimizing reverse logistics. This involves efficiently managing unannounced and unscheduled return pickups. You can deal with such errors by partnering with the right last mile delivery service. Before we delve into return logistics, let’s understand why optimizing returns is important.

Why optimizing returns is so important

According to this report, 82% of shoppers expect an easy returns process. Further, optimized returns can increase revenue by as much as 25%. Returns are hitting eCommerce and supply companies hard. Supplies suffer even more. They not only have returns from eCommerce purchases but also from wholesale customers. When products are coming back in bulk, the return process becomes expensive. Unannounced and unscheduled return pickups, in particular, can heavily increase your expenses. By handling such errors, you can experience the following benefits.

  • Reduced costs – By ensuring accurate returns pickup and delivery, you can save on a lot of costs.
  • Efficient service – As a consequence of optimizing your supply chain, you can automatically ensure speed in every step from returns to reimbursement.
  • Customer retention – Customer retention depends on customer satisfaction, and studies have proven that the returns experience impacts customer satisfaction. This is why you should focus on optimizing your returns experience.
  • Reduced losses – There’s a significant loss associated with a bad return experience. Potential long-term customers end-up settling for one-off purchases when a returns experience is bad.

So it’s settled. Optimizing your returns process is an important part of retaining customers and reducing losses. So, how exactly can you optimize your returns experience? In supply chain management, the returns chain is referred to as reverse logistics.

What is reverse logistics? Why is it important for eCommerce businesses?

Reverse logistics refers to the process by which items are reclaimed when a customer isn’t satisfied, or a product is defective. In today’s age, reverse logistics is a critical part of the customer experience with an eCommerce business. As previously discussed, the returns experience can affect future sales with certain customers. That’s why it’s important for you to manage returns and make them efficient.

How to manage/prevent unannounced and unscheduled return pickups

The returns process can be very frustrating for both customers and suppliers. The eCommerce platforms that guarantee a great return experience typically fare well among customers. There are some logistics services that even offer ambitious 90 minutes reverse pickups. There are a bunch of ways in which you can manage and optimize returns. Here are a few such strategies that you can consider.

  • Put your customers in charge. If you want to reduce unannounced or unscheduled pickups, make your customers responsible for them. Many times, this will reduce your number of returns. This is because customers don’t want to put the extra effort to return items. You could have a preferred mobile logistics solution partner that offers discounts to your customers.
  • Using pre-printed return labels. Some eCommerce giants include pre-printed return labels in the delivery packages to make return easy for their customers. This is a great way to remove the friction and frustration associated with returns. But is it a good move for your brand? Well, you can eliminate unannounced and unscheduled return pickups using this strategy. Customers can simply use paste the return label on the box and mail it from anywhere.
  • Pre-scheduling return pickups. You can have delivery executives call and schedule pickups before they happen. You could also have customers include a preferred time for delivery and use that to plan return pickups.
  • Self-generated return labels. You could also have customers use self-service portals to create and print return labels. This requires customers to put effort, in which case your return numbers may fall.

Managing unannounced and unscheduled return pickups is easy, when you implement the right returns process. Use one of the four return processes suggested in this post to optimize your returns process.