Recently, uShip partnered with Worldwide Business Research (WBR) to survey 100 leaders from consumer and B2B product retailers. The insights gained there created the “Mastering Oversized Returns: Logistics Executives Weigh In On Their Top Challenges” report. What we found is that most organizations struggle with streamlining their return shipping process and getting the visibility they need while keeping costs down. In the report, you’ll find echoes of the solutions outlined here in this article. Grab the free report by clicking the link above.
The Nature of Returns
Dealing with returns is an inevitable part of doing business. There are many causes for returns, as you know, but one thing remains true — if there is a lot of friction for your buyers when those returns do crop up, you aren’t doing your bottom line any favors.
Compounding the problem, large and bulky items bring a unique set of hurdles to the table. You need strategic first-to-last-mile solutions to tackle them. Here, we’ll talk about five ways you can streamline returns for your oversized items.
Strategic Shipping Partnerships
We found that 87% of the surveyed business leaders struggle to find and book reliable return shipping solutions for large and bulky items when they need them.
Navigating the logistical intricacies of oversized item returns demands a specialized approach. Retailers can enhance their capabilities by tapping into uShip’s nationwide network of carriers that specialize in transporting large and cumbersome products.
We have the expertise and carrier capacity to handle oversized items efficiently, ensuring a smooth return process and alleviating the strain on internal resources. By outsourcing this aspect of the logistics chain, retailers can provide customers with reliable and timely returns, contributing to an overall positive shopping experience.
The report uncovers that 77% of the surveyed respondents are only somewhat satisfied with their ability to track shipping prices, and only 59% are only somewhat satisfied with their ability to track damage rates. This slows work to a halt when you have to hunt for rates that align with your goals. It extends into reducing the damage rates that cut right into your bottom line.
Today, technology offers a powerful toolset to enhance the efficiency of oversized item returns. Implementing tracking systems provides real-time visibility into the journey of these larger products. This not only keeps customers informed about the status of their returns but also enables retailers to proactively address any potential issues.
Because we’re a first-to-last-mile delivery solution, touchpoints are mitigated and tracking becomes easy. Your carrier is the only one to move the product until it reaches its final destination, greatly decreasing the risk of damage. By leveraging technology, retailers can streamline the return process, minimizing delays and ensuring that oversized items are safely transported back to point B.
With uShip at the helm, retailers gain visibility into their return efforts in real-time. Our powerful set of tools allows you to stay on top of all your shipments, both returns and deliveries, so your finger stays on the pulse of everything moving.
Cost-Effective Return Shipping Solutions
We found that 91% of the leaders we talked to said that the costs of reverse logistics for large items is a somewhat significant problem.
It’s obvious — shipping and returning large and bulky items costs more. The very nature and size of these items require special attention, tools, and know-how. To address this challenge, retailers should explore alternative and cost-effective shipping options.
With uShip, businesses can find comptetive quotes from many quality carriers all in one place. There is no need to negotiate favorable rates with these carriers to reduce the financial strain. Our platform allows carriers to bid on your return shipment so you can get the best rate available every single time. This also allows retailers to offer more competitive return policies.
Cost-effective return shipping is a critical element in fostering customer trust and loyalty.
Proactive Customer Communication
In the report, a common theme found was a lack of insight as to what is available to move large and bulky items at any given point in time. More than half of the businesses we talked to were unhappy with their current ability to track delivery speeds. This makes it extremely difficult to keep your customers AND returns facilities in the know with accurate information.
As a retailer, you almost can’t be too communicative. Customers love being in the know on both the status of their deliveries but also their returns. Clear and concise communication is paramount in managing oversized item returns. Providing customers with detailed instructions on initiating a return, explaining the return process, and offering estimated timelines for refunds or replacements helps manage expectations.
Transparency in communication builds trust and minimizes the potential for customer dissatisfaction. A proactive approach to customer communication contributes significantly to an overall positive shopping experience, even in the event of a return. This helps you build brand loyalty and hook returning customers.
Comprehensive Returns Management Systems
Implementing a tailored returns management system designed for oversized items can streamline the entire return process, but without the right partner, it’s extremely hard to do. This system should seamlessly integrate with existing platforms.
A well-designed returns management system simplifies returns processing, generates valuable data and insights, and allows retailers to make informed decisions. By analyzing patterns and trends in oversized item returns, retailers can optimize their product offerings, packaging, and overall customer experience.
When you adopt these approaches, you not only streamline the return shipping process for oversized items but also position yourself as a leader in providing exceptional customer service and satisfaction in the competitive landscape of e-commerce — and that’s how you win!
Partnering with uShip gives your team the tools needed to make this a reality. For the reasons outlined above, among many others, we make the return process easy on your business and bottom line, but what’s more — we make it frictionless for your customers, which leads to better retention. They don’t have to lift a finger when that couch, hutch, car, or other bulky item needs to be returned. uShip just makes it less painful and costly.
When you’re ready to see how we make returns easy, we’ll be here! Also, if you’d like to check out the full report mentioned in this article, you can get a copy here.