A small business like yours has to make careful decisions when it comes to spending, especially when it comes to services that might be otherwise optional.

Every nickel you put out into the world needs to bring back another, or better yet, a dime, otherwise you can’t make payroll or even keep the lights on. That’s why it’s even more important that you have a good retail returns management service on your team.

Retail Returns Management Isn’t Optional

There are plenty of services that you can wait to opt into until you get bigger, but a retail returns management service isn’t one of them.

Even if you’re giving your customers a beautiful, hassle-free, simple returns process, you’re still missing out on potential revenue. Those returns that are collecting dust on your shelves represent negative income, but if you had a reverse logistics team already in place they’d be back out the door by now.

Reverse logistics teams manage this by doing things like:

  • Repackaging and returning products to current inventory. In the best of all scenarios, when products are returned in pristine condition, they can go back to the sales floor right away. A quick once-over and basic repackaging like new will help a product maintain 100 percent of its original value.
  • Refurbishing products for resell. Merchandise that comes back somehow less than perfect can often be refurbished and then resold either through an outlet or online, allowing you to recoup a large percentage of the value. It’s not a zero sum game, but it’s a lot better than throwing the product away.
  • Liquidating items in bulk. Liquidation is good for items that just aren’t moving, especially if there are a lot of them. Returns management companies hold auctions through liquidators that allow companies to buy your unsellable stock and get it off your shelves. The return may be relatively low, but you aren’t paying for disposal or continuing to accumulate storage fees.
  • Recycling DOAs for scrap value. Some products have a fairly decent value as scrap, especially electronics. When you have electronics that come in dead and can’t be revived, recycling for scrap can be an option that will generate a revenue stream to help offset the cost of your returns team.
  • Donating products to charity. Charitable donations can serve you in two ways. First, you can often take a tax deduction for charitable donations, and secondly, you’re avoiding dump fees by donating items rather than disposing of them. Your returns management team handles all of this behind the scenes.

This is only the beginning of what a retail returns management service can do for your small business or eCommerce operation. The data they collect can improve processes on the front end, too, making returns a far less common occurrence. Reverse logistics can benefit you in a myriad of ways.