Looking for a new way to bring in money for your eCommerce or retail store? Have you considered a returns management team?

While it might seem counterintuitive, having a dedicated reverse logistics arm can actually open up new revenue streams and opportunities for income to trickle in from areas beyond your main retail operation.

How Returns as Revenue Works

An item that comes into your reverse logistics facility is really only beginning its journey in the world. As the circular economy becomes more prevalent, finding uses for those unwanted items is a greater priority, and nearly everything has a price.

These are just a few ways that your reverse logistics team can squeeze every last nickel out of your returns:

  • Swiftly moving merchandise back to the sale floor. Rather than an income-generator, this is more of a income-preserver. By getting that merchandise back on the sales floor, be it real or virtual, you’ll preserve as much value as possible, even getting a chance to sell it while it’s still in season. That’s a huge win-win.
  • Repairing items that can be resold as new. When items come in damaged, it’s often possible to create value by repairing or repackaging them. You won’t get the full price out of a refurbished item, but price-aware customers will be more than happy to buy these items at a discount, either through your own platform or through a third party that specializes in this kind of product.
  • Reselling items on the secondary market. If your returns are no longer the latest models, or you’ve discontinued them in your stores, there’s another market to tap. That’s the secondary market, which is largely composed of overseas buyers. A good reverse logistics team has connections that can help them bundle your older iPhones with others, then sell the whole batch to eager buyers in other countries.
  • Recycling items that aren’t able to be resold. Recycling is still cool, and it’s a good way to bring in a little extra income. Of course, it depends on what you’re selling to the recyclers, but electronics, especially, have plenty of valuable metals inside that can make it worth the extra effort.

Products that have expiration dates are trickier, but even some of these can be sent off for composting, though others may have no options but to end up in the landfill. Still, the more recycling you do, the more income you generate, along with plenty of goodwill. There’s no price on those things that make your customers really believe in your brand.

When a product goes out the door, there’s always a chance it’ll come back. Having a reverse logistics strategy in place can ensure that you’re able to extract as much value as possible from every return, turning a situation that could be a business stressor into a business advantage.