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Best Practices for Your Returns Management Process

With holiday returns continuing to impact the market, both retailers and consumer goods manufacturers need a preferred method to manage returns in a seamless manner which support the customer experience, increase omni-channel sales growth, decrease costs, and improve brand perception. Historically, returns and overstock have been viewed as a cost of business, rather than a source of innovation and revenue. Forrester released recent numbers projecting U.S. e-commerce to account for 10 percent of all U.S. retail sales by 2017, up from 8 percent in 2012. With online sales growth outpacing that of brick-and-mortar stores and the higher return rate coupled with online sales, retailers and manufacturers must be prepared for the returned flow of goods. Given this growth and the significant impact of consumer perception as it relates to product purchases and retailer store/site visits, this area of the business can no longer be dismissed. Through implementation of returns management process best practices, retailers and manufacturers can focus on their core business – providing a great experience for their customers and manufacturing products to sell to consumers (respectively). The three primary components to a streamlined returns management process to achieve these aims include the following: streamlining RTV agreements, centralizing your returns process, and maximizing sustainability and embracing the new “R” Cycle. (Bylined Article by Cayce Roy, Executive Vice-President and President, Retail Supply Chain Group, Liquidity Services, Inc.)


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