E-commerce supply chain is not only about delivering goods to the end customer. There is no rocket science involved in understanding that e-commerce supply chain gets a new life once goods reach the customer as he/she is fully entitled to return the goods back if there are any of the issues – product not liked, product not in good condition, broken, different item shipped and the list goes on. This is where Reverse Logistics makes its presence felt in the e-commerce supply chain. E-retailers know it fully well and can feel the pinch of returns on their pockets. The big question for them to ponder upon is – How can the already thin margins in last mile distribution network be converted into profits, including reverse logistics? Read on to know the answer –
1. Speedy pickups
Since the customer is the one who initiates the return of the product, it is paramount that the item in question gets picked at the earliest. Minimum TAT should be clearly defined for the return request generated by the customer. E-commerce players must make sure that within max. time of 24 hours, the product must be picked up from the customer’s end for further resolution.
2. Automate the processes
It is almost impossible to think about any e-commerce setup without technology integration. But technology holds even greater significance in the case of returns management. Artificially intelligent systems must be put in place to manage the returns which not only automate the workflow in e-commerce supply chain, but all the key and repeatedly occurring processes become efficient and faster.
3. Increase & strengthen the return channels
E-retailers understand that any inventory for which return has been initiated puts significant pressure on profits calculation. How will the returns be smooth for both e-commerce player as well as a consumer? It is simple – enhancing the no. of channels in e-commerce supply chain through which customers may return the goods. Customers should be able to return either through in-store, drop-offs at certain points or home pickups. To maintain accuracy and pace in the process, handheld scanners, receipt printers etc. must be in place on every channel.
4. Keep a check on quality & ensure inventory accuracy
Quality is what needs to be checked when the product is returned. Trained individuals must oversee the quality check on essential parameters. Once the product passes the testing phase, its status must be updated within the system for ensuring inventory accuracy. This will lead to assurance that the product is ready to be sold on the platform again and consequently, enhance the revenue as mentioned above.
5. Inculcate technology to enable & be enabled
The customer wants more control, be it traditional or e-commerce supply chain. When a customer wants to return the product, the interface should be hassle-free and must initiate the return request in not more than 3 clicks. Not only this, your e-commerce supply chain should be enriched with technology so that progress can be tracked back to customer’s whim. This will lead to more visibility at the business end too since you would be able to keep a track of where the product is.
6. And the Add-on customers would love to have
Building on the idea of providing more value the customer, you can give the customer the option of “try @ the time of delivery”; if the customer wishes to return or exchange, you can plan accordingly and shorten the reverse part of your e-commerce supply chain. This would ensure that the returns are managed swiftly.
7. Bringing it all together
These are some of the major challenges faced by e-retailers across e-commerce supply chain while managing reverse logistics. To overcome this pain and implement all the remedial steps on their own is the biggest of all challenges. So, it is better to let the logistics experts handle your reverse logistics including the whole of e-commerce supply chain. You can not only negotiate on the best prices and ensure that reverse logistics, which is a necessary evil, doesn’t eat up your already thin margins on the last mile front.
Last mile delivery is already a complex thing to be handled in UAE market if you happen to be an e-commerce player. Add up to the mounting returns with the emergence of more power to the customer and you would be hard pressing your mind on how to go about business. It is advisable to have supply chain professionals by your side who get you the maximum returns and manage your reverse logistics in best possible manner. This will enable you to achieve your goals of customer satisfaction without compromising monetary benefits.
Holisol is a leading supply chain organization providing solutions in retail (end-to-end fulfillment), Auto & Engineering (packaging & supply chain) and Consulting. Holisol works on the value proposition of Design-Implement-Manage to offer customers an experience of working like their own extended team, with affordable strategic and operational expertise.
Holisol has a workforce of +300 supply chain enthusiasts who are continuously building value through leadership, innovation and relationships. For more information visits us at www.holisolscs.ae
Subscribe for Latest Blogs