US eCommerce brands saw 44% growth in 2020 – thanks in large part to the Coronavirus pandemic. And this has serious implications for the importance of returns. The good news is that your e-commerce business is growing. You’re shipping out products to your customers and building a successful brand in the process.

The bad news is that you will need to deal with returns. Prior to the pandemic, 25% of orders made online were returned – still more than twice the figures for bricks and mortar stores. But with the increasing volume and nature of online shopping in the post-pandemic world, businesses should anticipate an even higher number of returns in the coming years. 

Experts project that 13 billion units (worth $573 billion) will be returned annually by 2022. This makes developing more efficient and cost-effective ways of processing and collecting returns is a pressing concern for many brands. Whether you use Shopify or Woocommerce, the more sales you make, the more returns you’ll get too. You need a reliable e-commerce reverse logistics solution to make sure your customers have a good experience with returns and protecting your brand integrity.

Ecommerce returns management is a great way to save you some money. It also lets you focus on the more important parts of your business at the same time. 

This guide will walk you through eight signs you have grown beyond managing returns manually and should outsource returns management to a professional reverse logistics partner.

1. You Leave Packages Unopened For Weeks

When those return packages arrive, then they have to go somewhere. If you’re too busy filling new orders, that place is usually a pile in your garage. 

You don’t have time to deal with the number of returns that you get. Even if the product is resellable, it’s faster to put the package aside and pull out products that are ready to ship.

2. Returned Items Are Creating Waste

Even if you manage to have time to open these packages, not every item you get back is going to be resellable. The resellable items will still have packaging that needs to be dealt with.

You could try to reuse some of this packaging, but the truth is most of the boxes that returned items come in are unusable by the time you open them. In other words, you’re throwing away a lot of merchandise and packaging that just ends up sitting in a landfill somewhere.

3. You Have an Unsteady Flow of Orders

One day you get fifty orders. The next you get two. This kind of unsteadiness is often an indicator of business growth.

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When you start spending more time working to fill orders like this, then you don’t have time to think about the pile of packages that are starting to build up in your garage. It’d save you time and money to let someone else deal with that stack of items. 

4. You Don’t Repair Damaged Returns

Many times when an item is returned damaged, it could still be resold if someone could repair or refurbish it. Many companies that deal in returned items are in contact with people who can perform such services. 

These items can be resold for at least a large portion of what your original buyer paid for them. This means that you lose less money and send less waste to the landfill.

5. You Spend More Money on Returns Than You Want to

Getting items returned costs a lot of money. In some cases, you can actually lose money doing returns. You have to refund the customer, pay for the shipping, and you can’t be sure if the item is resellable until it arrives. 

It’s time and money wasted that can start to feel like you’re herding kittens. You have more important things to spend your money on like more merchandise to sell or materials to make new products with.

6. You Have No Space Left in Your Garage

You need space in your garage or basement to be able to work on filling and sending out orders every day. Your return packages are piling up and taking that precious room from this space.

It’s a wasteful use of space that could be used to store merchandise that’s ready to go right now. When you get to this point, then you know it’s time to improve your returns management.

7. You Need More Time to Fill Orders

Dealing with returns by yourself might have been easy to do when you were getting five orders every other day, but you may have found yourself struggling to find time to deal with the return packages after a while. If you’ve reached this point, then something has to give.

Usually, this is what results in those piles of packages laying around your garage. This is a sure way to know that it’s time to expand and that getting professional help with returns could be worth it.

8. You Want to Speed up the Resale Process

If the majority of your returned products can be resold, then this is good news for you. But it can still sometimes be a hassle to get these items ready for resale, and you have other clients waiting on their orders. Outsourcing e-commerce returns management means that this entire process is taken care of for you.

Outsource Ecommerce Reverse Logistics for Your Business Today

If you’re checking off multiple items on the above list and finding your customer experience being impacted by returns, then you should consider outsourcing your e-commerce reverse logistics. For a detailed list of questions to consider when you’re trying to find a reverse logistics provider for your business, check out 10 Questions to ask before choosing a reverse logistics provider.

About G2 Reverse Logistics

G2 team can transform returns from an inevitable cost of operations to a powerful driver of profitability and brand loyalty. Our approach is to combine data, automation, and operations to provide end-to-end returns management including software solution and operational support. 

Whether you’re a fast-growing brand or an established company with a large brick and mortar footprint, we can take care of your returns so you can focus on what you do best- growing your business. 

Contact us or book a call today to find out how our flexible, automated approach can work for all of your reverse logistics needs.

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Written By:

Chris has dedicated his nearly 30-year career to helping manufactures and retailers of all sizes implement effective and efficient reverse logistics programs that provide clients with the optimal return for the product in their reverse pipeline.