With record-setting online sales looming on the horizon for the holiday season, retailers also are bracing for an onslaught of online returns. Those retailers selling primarily or exclusively online are expecting a corresponding hike in the volume of returns, but not much difference in the return rates they have become accustomed to.
However, for a typical omnichannel retailer, COVID-19 has made their digital sales ascend much faster than ever before, with online transactions taking a higher share of overall sales. These retailers will face return rates in the range of 3X to 4X in-store return rates, knocking their financial models out of whack and straining operations, as discussed previously.
The good news is that retailers can make a number of adjustments both to reduce return rates and to make the overall process more streamlined and less costly. In addition, new vendors are entering the market with innovative ideas and technologies that can ease the returns process for both the customer and the retailer, as well as improve profitability.