Holiday Returns and Your Apparel Supply Chain

For retailers, the holidays often bring a huge spike in sales, which can improve cash flow significantly. However, after everyone opens their gifts and writes their thank-you cards, some people return their gifts because they want something different or because they received duplicate items. How you handle holiday returns in your supply chain can impact your financial health in the new year.

Reduce the Chance for Return Fraud

apparel returns processing

Unfortunately, consumers don't always return legitimate products. Retailers have discovered trash in returned boxes and other examples of fraud. Using reverse logistics, you can cut down on return fraud and maximize revenue.

Create stringent return policies and train staff to check items before accepting returns. While you might irritate your customers, you'll cut down on potential losses. Win back your customers by tracking their returns and sending them emails with special offers or other incentives to come back to the store.

Make Returns and Exchanges Painless

While you want to eliminate return fraud, you'll lose customers even faster if you turn the return process into a painful ordeal. Put procedures in place to make returning items as easy and painless as possible. Start by analyzing your current returns data. How often do customers return items? How long does the process typically take?

Adjust your returns protocols to improve the customer experience. For instance, you can automate parts of the process through your point-of-sale system so the customer doesn't have to wait as long.

Evaluate Your Ordering and Inventory Processes

After the holiday fervor dies down, look back at the data over the last two months. How many returns did you process? Are you stuck with excess inventory? Did certain products fail to fly off the shelves when you expected to run out of them? Every store experiences unexpected results, but you can learn from them so that you don't make similar mistakes in the future.

Learning from past years can help you keep your inventory under control in subsequent years. Using a third-party apparel logistics provider can help streamline holiday returns and improve your supply chain efficiency with reverse logistics serivces. The more data you collect, the better you'll prepare yourself for the next holiday season.

Repackage and Return Items to the Shelf Quickly

A returned product represents a drop in revenue. You sold the product, but now you've refunded the purchase price. The faster you get the product back on the shelf, the more quickly you can recoup your loss. Your apparel stores' back-end procedures can significantly impact return-to-shelf speed.

Create processes for examining returned items, repackaging them if necessary, and restocking them right away. Encourage customers to return items to larger stores that experience more customer volume. You can use your email marketing system to keep in contact with customers and deliver special offers and other incentives.

Apparel retailers love the holidays, but they also dread holiday returns. If you're tired of experiencing that January slump, request a consultation to learn how The Apparel Logistics Group, Inc., can help optimize your apparel supply chain even during turbulent seasons with improved reverse logistics processes. We can help with all areas of logistics, from quality and inventory control to merchandising and warehouse fulfillment.

Posted: 12/28/2016 2:35:13 PM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

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