The holidays represent the peak selling season for almost all online retailers. It is a busy time of the year, and can be quite stressful with increased order volumes and competitive pricing strategies. While the selling flurry may be over and done with once the new year begins, processing returns can be an added strain on your inventory levels and management. You want to plan for the season ahead, but you realize that there is a backlog of returned inventory to deal with! Here is how to combat it.
What Causes Returns?: The best way to combat returned inventory is to understand what makes people return those products. Is the product itself faulty? Get in touch with your suppliers. Does it not travel well and arrive damaged? Work out a better shipping and storage solution. Is it inconsistent with the product description? Is the sizing off? When you understand the reasons behind the return, you will be able to take the necessary corrective action. You can communicate these problems to your manufacturers and others involved in the supply chain. When you know what the problem is, you can nip it in the bud and prevent it from arising in future.
Stock Up On What Sells: Every business has a certain product or mix of products that is always in demand, sells well and seldom sees returns. Cash in on your moneymakers, and allow enough space for these items. Every returned item is a strain on your financials: reverse pick up, re-processing, re-packing, re-shipping. When you can structure your product mix to increase demand for products with lower return rates, your sales automatically increases.
Try Outsourcing: While outsourcing does not guarantee fewer returns, you can be rest assured that your fulfillment partner will have enough room to store and sort the returned inventory, along with new stuff that is coming in. Fulfillment partners have the luxury of larger warehouses and storage spaces, so you can focus on liquidating that inventory and settling those returns without having to worry about clearing space.
How do you fulfill your orders and manage inventory at present? Have you considered outsourcing? Fifth Gear specializes in order management and fulfillment. And, with over 500,000 square feet (and growing!) of warehouse space, you do not have to worry about leftover inventory.