Over 50% of retailers regard making improvements to the efficiency of their returns processes as a key priority*. But what do you need to transform your returns into a profitable sales process?

1. Speed

Apart from ensuring the returning customer is dealt with efficiently, goods needs to be re-stocked or re-routed quickly and intelligently, to maximise sales cycle time and potential for initial value recovery.

How to get there?

An in-store management solution will help you get your returned items quickly back in stock. By equipping store staff and/or warehouse operators with mobile terminals, they would scan the items, and according to their condition, decide what would be the next step (fit for sale, re-packaging, send to outlet store, etc…).

2. Agility and Visibility

To optimise profitability the returns process requires agility and real-time visibility of all the stock available for sale, across every channel in the business. When an item is returned to a store why shouldn’t it be visible and available for sale immediately? Or if another store is out of stock of the particular product, why not route it there?

How to get there?

By identifying the items at every step in the supply chain in real-time, and sharing data efficiently across all channels will help you get the full visibility you require to ensure on-shelf availability and maximise sales.

3. Clear and Efficient Processes

But to get to this level of returns management, store staff need clear, efficient processes at the point of return; capturing all relevant data, assessing its condition and allocating a final destination quickly, so that the supply chain has full visibility of stock coming back.

How to get there?

Equipping store staff with a mobile device and app that guides them through a returns management workflow and is flexible enough to allow for exceptions that can help remove the guesswork of where returns should be re-routed.

4. Mobilising existing in-store systems

Many retailers rely on POS systems that were implemented before the digital revolution and a requirement to operate an omni-channel business model arose. Whilst these systems serve a purpose, they are often not equipped to ensure stock visibility and manage efficient returns processes without major customisation involving significant time and cost.

How to get there?

In-store mobility applications interfacing to existing back end systems can bridge the void and be cost-effectively deployed to enable an efficient and agile returns process. Such systems also ensure that returned items are visible in real-time so that they can be re-sold as quickly as possible with the least margin erosion.

To find out how your company can achieve the visibility required for efficient returns management, contact us and get a free consultative session with one of our retail experts.

*Gartner Research: Multichannel Fulfillment and Returns, 2014



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