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Benefits of Outsourcing Reverse Logistics

20Oct, 2014
Reverse Logistics

The Advantages of Outsourcing Reverse Logistics

For retailers, reverse logistics is an unavoidable fact of life. No matter how great your products are overall, and how satisfied your customers tend to be on the whole, someone somewhere is bound to return something. Maybe it was a gift they didn’t want. Maybe there was a factory error, or the item was damaged in shipping. Maybe it just wasn’t quite what they expected it to be. No matter how much effort you put into quality products and top-notch customer service, you will still have to deal with returns.

Reverse logistics is notorious for chewing up retailers’ time, money, and resources. Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone. A good, reputable third-party logistics company will often provide outsourced reverse logistics services. Instead of handling returns internally, you can hire someone who specializes in logistics to do it for you. This can free up time, money, and resources so that you can focus on your core areas of competency. When you outsource, you’ll see the benefits reflected in your bottom line—and spare yourself a logistics headache.

Customer Satisfaction versus Time and Money: A Catch-22?

You’re probably well aware of how important it is to have an efficient, customer-friendly approach to handling reverse logistics. It’s always wise to have a convenient and accommodating return policy to keep customers satisfied. After all, a returned item definitely doesn’t mean that the customer who sent it will never shop with you again. But if returning a purchase is a hassle, or your return policy is too restrictive, you could lose their business forever. Despite the burden of logistical concerns and lost profit, it’s in your best interest to keep your returns policy as lenient as possible.

Naturally, this puts you in a bit of a predicament. You have to accept returns as often as possible if you want to keep customers loyal and satisfied in today’s fast-paced, ultra-competitive online retail environment. Unfortunately, this also saddles you with the burden of dealing with returned merchandise. A returned product loses value and takes up warehouse space. Some items can be resold on clearance, as long as they aren’t damaged, but other products like perishables or used cosmetics must be thrown out. Either way, you’re losing profit since the item can’t be sold at full price. You’re also having to pay customer service representatives, warehouse personnel, and other employees to handle returns. This diverts resources that could be better used elsewhere. For many companies, the best and most economical choice is to outsource reverse logistics instead of handling it internally.

When You Outsource, You’re Hiring an Expert

As a retailer, your focus should be on the products you provide. Why deal with the hassle of returns internally, when you can hire someone who specializes in just those kinds of endeavors? A reputable 3PL company will know the ins and outs of reverse logistics like the palm of their hand. They’ll know all the best practices to maximize efficiency while keeping costs down, all while making sure your customers stay satisfied. A great return policy can make a customer more likely to buy from you later, even if they returned a product they didn’t like. Consumers hate it when returning an item is a convoluted hassle. When you outsource your reverse logistics to a 3PL company, they’ll make sure the return process is painless and smooth for your customers.

For retailers of all sizes, especially small and medium-sized companies, handling reverse logistics internally can be more trouble than it’s worth. Do your bottom line a favor, and save yourself the time, money, and hassle of dealing with customer returns. Outsourcing your reverse logistics needs to an industry-leading 3PL company is the natural choice.

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