Black Friday is next week, and even as retailers prepare for a massive influx of customers, they must also prepare a plan for dealing with returned items. Returns, and the costs and time commitment associated with them, are always a problem during and immediately after the holiday season. This article from Insider Intelligence analyzes some statistics and offers some solutions.
The National Retail Federation statistics cited in the article show that return rates are growing and are even outpacing revenue growth for 91% of retailers. Online return rates are 3 to 4 times higher than returns on in-store purchases. In response, UPS and Gap are setting up logistics services specifically for returns processes.
On the whole, the article indicates that retailers are not prepared to handle a large number of returns, with many not even understanding why items are being returned to begin with. One suggestion for reducing returns is using more user-generated post-purchase content to give customers a more accurate idea of what exactly the item looks like, how it works, how it will fit, etc. The article also recommends setting up networks that allow customers to sell unwanted items to other customers.
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