There are only so many dials that can be turned to increase sales and reduce expenses, and most have been turned at least twice already. But what about returns? Historically, return transactions have just been “a part of doing business”—however, they can, unfortunately, cause BOTH a negative sales impact AND an increase in expenses. But, what if new value could be created—previously ignored in return transactions—adding new sales? Or what if fraud and abuse could be reduced without creating stricter policies that can frustrate good consumers—and still save costs by reducing return rates? What if a NEW omnichannel dial could be turned? Think about it, if providing a higher level of consumer service and generating both revenues and increased margin during the stressful return or exchange process could be possible, then an improved bottom line and a competitive advantage would have just been created.
Return and exchange transactions are a dark part of the retail environment—accepted out of necessity and/or consumer service pressures, yet often left unexamined. Most multi-channel retailers are so accustomed to seeing the returns bucket on weekly reports that they simply gloss over it, or grumble about the negative effect returns have in transforming gross sales into the net. But returns hold significant promise, and we believe that the concept of return optimization may be one of the keys to unlocking their extraordinary value.
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