According to research by Forrester, post-holiday-season returns in the eCommerce age can reduce your holiday revenues by up to 50%, depending on your industry. Though the brunt of these returns used to be borne by retailers in years past, this burden has started to trickle down to manufacturers and distributors who now often must agree to accept returned goods and reimburse customers themselves.
While returns may be irritating, the way your business handles them can determine your ongoing success, both with vendors and direct customers. Companies that use mobile scanning tools to speed their processes for accepting, sorting, and handling large volumes of returns can use their efficiency as a differentiator that makes them more attractive to vendors—and they can increase their own profitability with D2C (direct to consumer) sales as well.
Make the reverse logistics season easier with Scanco’s flexible barcoding tools and a dedicated RMA module for your warehouse. Contact Scanco online or by phone at (330) 645-9959 to learn how quickly you can improve your returns process.
The Typical Reverse Logistics Process
Most companies, perhaps yours as well, handle inventory returns in a similar manner:
- Step 1: Place all received items into a sorting area
- Step 2: Watch the pile of returns grow—and watch available warehouse space shrink
- Step 3: When the pile gets out of control, allocate team members to visually inspect items and sort through them, taking handwritten notes as they go
- Step 4: While sorting, create multiple, smaller piles for scrap, donations, repair, and restock
- Step 5: Transfer notes into your ERP manually so you can ensure you have in-depth grading notes for each item
- Step 6: Once each pile is large enough, close the loop by performing appropriate stock actions (discard, donate, etc.) with each item
As you can see, this method is both cumbersome and slow. And the piles can quickly get out of control. Adding even more complexity to the process, late returns may be out of season and either take up space in your inventory until next year, or must be sold at a loss. Plus, the longer you wait to address a return and refund a D2C’s money, the more unhappy they’ll become.
Sorry to say it, but if your company is still using the typical reverse logistics process to handle retailer and D2C returns, you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities.
Luckily, there is a way to make it better.
The Reverse Logistics Process Powered by Mobile Scan
Companies that opt to use mobile scan tools for reverse logistics follow a different, much faster process with half the steps:
- Step 1: Speak to the customer and issue an RMA—this offers a brand-building experience that can help mitigate the frustration of returns from your customer’s perspective (an RMA module is included with Scanco Enterprise)
- Step 2: Collect returns with ease by scanning the RMA during receiving—this will automatically sort some packages for you, such as items needing repair, so you can keep your returns pile small
- Step 3: Set up a small team of workers to sort through your receiving pile each week (or day, if your returns build up too quickly)—equip them with mobile scan tools such as barcode scanners powered by iOS or Android phones, which empowers employees to automatically enter grading notes as they go; you’ll have real-time receiving data on re-saleable stock, and they’ll be able to allocate items appropriately as they go, with no additional piles needed
Not only does mobile-scan powered reverse logistics help your company save time and increase efficiency, it also helps you provide better customer service.
Use Scanco barcoding and mobile scan tools for:
- Real-time inventory updates
- On-demand barcode label printing
Turn Your Reverse Logistics Efficiency into Cash
We’re not going to repeat that old saw about how “time is money” because you already know that; of course saving time in your reverse logistics process will increase your profitability!
What we will say, however, is that using mobile scanning devices for your returns will:
- Improve customer happiness with faster returns and refunds, as well as near-instant service
- Reduce inventory carrying costs by clearing up your limited warehouse storage space faster
- Provide real-time insight into your current stock and its popularity, so you can plan right for procurement initiatives
- Increase resale speeds, since you’ll be able to process returns on time, grade them faster, and return them to stock in time to recoup your profits
Isn’t it time you turned the dreaded season of reverse logistics into a celebrated season of exuberant reselling? Make that shift now with Scanco.
Scanco’s focus is your focus: making your company more agile and profitable. After two decades of success helping our clients reach their goals, we’re happy to help you reach your goals as well. Reach a Scanco associate online today or call (330) 645-9959 to learn more about how you can speed up your reverse logistics processes using mobile scanning tools.