Managing returns is among the costliest of supply chain processes, and many supply chain professionals understand how much processing a single return can cost. Believe it or not, the average return costs 59% of an item’s original price, according to NBC News, and with all signs indicating the 2021 holiday season rush will outpace prior years, shippers need to know a few things about reverse logistics and parcel returns in this age of e-commerce dominance. Combined with the ongoing increases in shipping over recent years, it’s easy to see how quickly parcel returns can add to reverse logistics costs and undermine operational efficiency. Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know about parcel returns in anticipation of peak season, how e-commerce is impacting them, and what to do now to prepare for parcel returns management.
A Primer on Parcel Returns, Reverse Logistics, and Peak Season
Parcel returns are complex. Depending on the method of return, such as returning an item to a brick-and-mortar shipping location or requesting a home pickup, the costs can quickly spiral out of control. Parcel returns are closely tied to the overall flow of e-commerce goods. Remember that e-commerce growth amounts to a greater risk for returns. Why?
Fast, Optimal E-Commerce Fulfillment Amounts to Reduced Returns Risk
How Shippers Can Prepare Earlier and Enable Effective Parcel Management
- Increase the flexibility of your parcel courier network with a transportation management system (TMS) that continuously analyzes and re-evaluates pick-ups and drop-offs based on real-time data.
- Recognize that the blending of pick-ups and drop-offs means couriers must handle returns coming back through the reverse logistics flow, and shippers need to receive notice of these pick-ups in real-time as well.
- Streamline processing of returns by integrating your returns management authorization (RMA) process within the TMS, such as the way MercuryGate leverages MercuryMyEZClaim to eliminate delays in submitting, processing, and paying claims.
- Continuously capture data on shipping rates, including parcel and leveraging a real-time freight rate index, to recognize how total spend will change as peak season progresses. You must also keep customers updated regarding shipping costs along the way.
- Digitize document and parcel management simultaneously with link-based attachment uploads that allow couriers to capture signatures, upload proof of delivery or pick-up, and share an update based on the full context with all relevant paperwork retained with the TMS.
Be Ready for Holiday Returns Season With an End-to-End TMS
The 2021 holiday shopping season is shaping up to be a game-changer, and that will inherently mean a record-setting parcel returns season as well. It’s time to re-invigorate your approach to both the forward and reverse logistics flow of the final mile, regardless of whether that’s with B2B or D2C transactions. Check out how the MercuryGate TMS empowers your team before, during, and after the holiday shopping season.