f you run an eCommerce business, chances are good that you’ve already had a fair amount of experience handling returns. As your company scales, you will find that you can’t juggle it all, especially those multiplying returns that you also can’t afford to ignore.
But what happens to your returns when you use a returns management company?
Your Reverse Logistics Team Working for You
There are lots of options when dealing with customer returns. That may be the biggest benefit of working with a company that specializes in reverse logistics. It can ensure that you have many avenues to handle the ever-flowing stream of merchandise that ends up back in your possession.
Some of the more common avenues include:
- Return to inventory as is. If that wrong-color shirt is returned quickly and still in its original packaging, there’s nothing that stops you from adding it to existing inventory right away. The faster, the better.
- Refurbish and return to inventory. Items that arrive DOA or have a particularly bad quirk can sometimes be salvaged by refurbishers. You’ll have to pay a bit extra to bring these goods back to life, but if there’s a healthy market for them, you may find you’ve recaptured a lot of value.
- Redirect to liquidators. If you just really don’t want to deal with returns, you can always have your returns management team package them up and send them off for liquidation. Other companies buy these pallets and then resell the individual items inside. Often, the pallets are grouped by item type, so all your electronics would be packaged with the electronics from other stores, too.
- Strip and recycle. Again, depending on what it is that you’ve sold and had returned, you may find a revenue stream in stripping your items down and recycling them. Electronics, in particular, contain a variety of materials that recycle readily. Not only will you get a little bit of money for the precious metals that come from your recycling effort, but you’ll also be able to brag about your commitment to the environment.
- Disposal. Ultimately, some items will not be salvageable because they’ve expired or are otherwise totally impossible to sell. It’s not always as simple as calling in the garbage collectors, though. Many products require special handling and disposal so as not to harm the environment.
The good news is that you’re in control of what happens to your returns. If you want to focus on long-term sustainability, you may opt to remain as green as possible and fix anything that’s fixable, recycle what you can of what’s left and carefully dispose of the balance. For companies that just want to move products out of the way and write the loss off, liquidation auctions are a quick and dirty solution to a problem that continues to plague the eCommerce segment.