Returns processing, or reverse logistics as it is sometimes referred to, is as important to your business as sales. If your return process is challenging or leaves customers frustrated, that negativity can lead to—at the least—losing any future sales from those customers, and—at the worst—those customers going on a social media tirade against your company as a result of the poor customer service they received. Fulfillment.com’s (FDC) comprehensive return logistics program ensures that there is minimal merchandise waste or product shortages while providing outstanding customer service when processing your product returns for inventory stock.
Although the concept of reverse logistics suggests that you can just backtrack your outbound process, this is not actually the case. To successfully manage the process, equal attention must be given to all aspects of the sales cycle course. Reverse logistics can be viewed as the part of the supply chain process involving the business of returning, repairing, exchanging, refurbishing, or re-marketing products. Many companies are so focused on increasing sales for outgoing orders that they lose sight of the importance of their returns process and how it can impact their revenue, but at FDC, our efficient returns practices are integrated into our complete end-to-end process. Consider an electronics purchase that is returned: your policy may be to not accept open electronics back into inventory, so FDC can ship these returns to you for refurbishing, retooling, or re-packaging, allowing you to recoup some, or all, of the original order’s value.
While many businesses overlook the reverse logistics aspect of the sales cycle, FDC realizes that product returns provide one more point of contact with customers and should be treated as an opportunity to create a positive experience with your business. FDC’s returns process aligns with fulfillment industry best practices, providing top-notch customer service for our clients while saving them time and money. We manage your product delivery from start to finish, whether that finish means delivery to the end user or processing a product returned by the purchaser thus making the product available for another purchase.
The goal of a good returns policy is twofold: first, to make the process as quick and painless for customers as possible, and second, to minimize returns in general by following best practices. At FDC, we are continually measuring and improving our returns operations. Our experienced Returns team helps expedite the process for returned products while saving you time and money and enhancing your forecasting abilities. Our system allows you to determine your return percentage rates for any product, thus helping you plan manufacturing order schedules to reduce overhead storage fees of extra or unnecessary inventory.
FDC’s reverse logistics are optimized to focus on your returns policy and customer service through our combination of cutting-edge information technology and the sheer square footage our facilities dedicate to their Returns areas. We understand the effect that a poorly-handled return can have on your company’s reputation and give 100% attention to detail on all orders processed. FDC’s friendly Account Managers work closely with our Returns team to ensure that everyone is in the loop on product return rates and how to best prevent them in the first place.
How FDC’s Returns Process Works
Central to everything we do is FDC’s proprietary technology designed to save our customers both time and money. Our methods of address validation virtually eliminate shipments of incorrectly addressed orders. As part of FDC’s kitting and assembly services, we can include a return label with every order we fulfill for you. Additionally, our order-grouping application automatically pairs separate orders being delivered to the same customer and address, reducing packaging, postage, and fulfillment fees for our customers. FDC’s Returns team monitor inventory compliance and provide a central source of data for our customers via our system dashboard. FDC’s system provides inventory access in real time, so when a product is returned to inventory, the information is immediately available for you to provide a timely response to your customer’s request for a refund or credit.
A Harvard Business Review study shows that positive customer service experiences lead to increased customer loyalty and FDC’s return process is one more opportunity to achieve a positive customer impact. Most experts agree that the time for a refund should be equal to or less than the time it took to make an initial sale in order to keep the customer satisfied. This ability to expedite returns is crucial to keeping your customers happy, allows you to minimize the cost of expired or discontinued products, match other supply demands, and increase your profit margin by reducing the general cost of product returns. In some cases, finding secondary markets, auction sites, discount retailers, or even product liquidators can help you recover some of your cost from un-stockable product returns.
FDC’s Returns team work to process product returns as fast as (if not faster than!) the fulfillment of an original product purchase. One of the primary reasons for product returns is customer choice, and the best way to maintain customer satisfaction in these instances is to simply accept and process the return. Our team inspects each product return, evaluating its suitability for adding back into inventory. In cases where a product is open, damaged, or otherwise not able to be re-stocked, FDC has systems in place for proper recycling, disposition, or shipping product back to vendor. FDC’s comprehensive recycling program for these types of non-stockable returned products furthermore allows our customers to distinguish themselves as environmentally-responsible.
FDC’s product management and operational efficiencies help reduce rates for the other top product return reasons: inferior quality, delivery delays or product backlogs, error in order fulfillment, and misrepresentation of product. Since catalog and Internet sales orders are returned at a higher frequency than sales through standard, brick and mortar distribution channels, FDC’s solid returns process ensures that our customers minimize loss of revenue and product stock on E-commerce sales. If you are looking for ways to save time and money, search no further than Fulfillment.com. Contact us today to see how our comprehensive returns processing can improve your customer service, add to your revenue, and reduce product waste.