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Retailers, don't let returns dominate your January!

Ben Smith
Ben Smith

Returns are an issue for all retailers, big or small, and for many it’s proving to be a worsening headache. Many shoppers have turned to the internet to pick up bargains, but without the benefit of a physical store they are making the most of free returns to browse their choices before making a final decision.

With the ongoing pandemic that’s only likely to continue and many companies are reporting a rise in the so-called “serial-returners” – people who order online knowing they are unlikely to keep everything that’s due to be delivered. One reported story was a family who bought multiple sofas in differing fabrics, unwrapped them all in the lounge before returning the unwanted versions. This is certainly not an isolated incident.

Even without “serial returners” it’s estimated almost half of all consumers buy things online with no intention of keeping all their purchases. One recent study quoted in the media estimated that returns cost the British retail industry approximately £7 billion a year – an eye-watering sum however large your company is.

But what to do with those returned items? A no-returns policy isn’t feasible for businesses wanting to build a strong customer relationship and there are always going to be people who genuinely need to return something.

Depending on your business model, some products can be returned to the shop floor to be sold on to a new home but there are plenty examples of goods that can’t be resold and you can end up with used items. Whether that’s an appliance that’s been tested once or an item that has simply been removed from its original packaging. Often the goods appear to be pristine but you don’t have the time or resources to check every product returned. It simply doesn’t make financial sense.

That’s where we come in.

We currently handle regular auctions of raw returns, sourced from industry leaders including John Lewis, achieving an average of 25 per cent of retail price at auction. Some items can reach an unprecedented 50 per cent of the retail value.

So how does it work?

As you know, raw returns come in a variety of conditions. Some items are mint in box and have barely been touched, others are damaged and require expertise to repair or to be broken up for spare parts. Either way, not something a major retailer wants to be getting involved with but simply binning it is far from ideal. Sustainability is a growing issue and consumers are keenly aware of its importance – retail waste is damaging to a brand.

Once you’ve got those returns on your hands, we’ll take them off you, and can manage the shipping and storage of your products, freeing up valuable warehouse space. We will then hold dedicated auctions, run targeted marketing and handle any queries, with a strong focus on customer satisfaction.

We are continuously building a large base of loyal and discerning clientele who we can reach directly through e-comms and social media as well as promoting to a wider audience of keen new eyes.

Once your goods have sold, we handle payment and shipping of the items, continuing to maintain your brand image with our exceptional customer service as evidenced on Trustpilot and Google, something you won't see anywhere else in the secondary markets industry. All this while transforming a cost, logistics and resourcing nightmare into a sustainable and efficient revenue stream. And with our accurate and fully trackable reporting systems, it’s all transparent and accountable ready for auditing.

We can even provide technology integrations to support your reverse logisitcs supply chain and will work collaboratively with you to identify your targets and establish a strategy that helps you get there. 

Interested in finding out more? Leave your details and one of our team will be in touch.