Partnering with a reverse logistics company is a great move for your retail business.

Not only will your customers be happier with the way their returns are processed faster, you’ll quickly see the impact of that swift returns management on your bottom line. But not all reverse logistics companies are created equally, so before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you’re getting the very best in the business.

Demand Flexibility From Reverse Logistics

Your reverse logistics company should be able to bend and flex with changes to your inventory and respond to whatever returns come in fluidly. It absolutely must have multiple options for dealing with items that come back, whether those items are still showroom-ready, almost perfect, need a fair amount of work or have to be scrapped.

Here are a few examples of ways that reverse logistics companies can utilize more flexible supply chain options when handling your returns:

  • Adopting smart label tracking. The smart label is one of the best tools in the returns management arsenal right now. Not only does this one little label make it easy for customers to return unwanted or incorrect orders, it alerts your returns team that an item is incoming from the moment it’s scanned at the shipper’s site.This way, your people are ready for the return and already have the order queued up. The return is followed from the moment it’s dropped off by the customer until it’s returned to inventory or optimally disposed.
  • Utilizing skilled refurbishers. Sometimes, electronics and other items arrive not as perfect as you’d hope. When this happens, all you can do is take them back and send a replacement product to the customer. The not so perfect item you have is then left to your discretion. Do you bin it? Or do you fix it and recapture some value?A good reverse logistics team has a refurbisher on staff or at the ready that can advise you on whether or not the item is worth fixing.
  • Networking with scrappers. For those products that can’t be repaired without an unreasonable investment, disposal becomes an issue. Electronics, especially, can be difficult to get rid of because of potentially dangerous materials contained inside, so what do you do? A good reverse logistics team knows how to can help you recoup some value by recycling and protecting the environment, scoring you points in two ways!
  • Selling in new markets. Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with your products, people just aren’t that in to them in your market. When your Zunes have run their course and you’re ready to give that shelf or warehouse space over to the newest iPods, the best reverse logistics companies can help you find another market.Often, developing countries or other secondary markets will have a high demand for electronics and other items that are considered outdated by Western culture. You won’t get top dollar, but your products will get a new life and you’ll get something back.

Not all reverse logistics companies are created equal. Only the best will flex and bend to move your products into new markets, help you recycle what you can’t fix and keep more products on the sales floor and out of the landfills. The ultimate goal should always be to find better ways to quickly move products from the customer making the return back into inventory.