eCommerce Returns; The Nightmare After Christmas
UPS said Thursday it expects returns traffic to rise 23% by week’s end compared to the highest-volume returns period during the 2019 peak-season cycle. According to Freight Waves, the Atlanta-based company said it expects to handle 8.75 million returns parcels this week.
The increase is being to more flexible return policies implemented by retailers to combat the challenges of retail during Covid-19 and increased eCommerce. For many online shoppers, frictionless, worry-free returns are one of the caveats to purchasing online.
“With the rise of eCommerce, returns are becoming a more consequential factor in a consumer’s decision about where to spend their dollars, and we’re seeing more consumers checking return policies and options before they even make a purchase,” Tobin Moore, Co-Founder and CEO of Optoro told UPS.
The research agrees. A UPS study found that:
- 73% of shoppers surveyed said the overall returns experience impacts their likelihood to purchase from a retailer again.
- 68% of survey respondents agree that the returns experience shapes their overall perceptions of a retailer.
- 42% said free return shipping contributes most to a positive returns experience.
- Metapack’s Guide to Returns found that 50% of shoppers had abandoned a purchase due to a lack of return options.
- According to the same survey, 56% of consumers had been deterred from shopping due to an eCommerce site’s returns policies.
Easy, friction-free return policies may keep customers happily shopping online during a global pandemic. But as online sales boom, so do returns, “Shoppers return 5 to 10 per cent of what they purchase in store but 15 to 40 per cent of what they buy online,” David Sobie, co-founder and CEO of Happy Returns told CNBC. And it’s our environment that pays the price.
In the US alone, returns create of landfill waste, contributing 15 million metric tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, equivalent to what 3 million cars would emit in one year.
And it doesn’t look to be getting any better. Over the next few years, as eCommerce continues to grow, globally, “the amount of returns is going to be over a trillion dollars a year,” Tobin Moore, the CEO of Optoro said.
So, what can we do about it?
Well, retailers can try and reduce return rates by not making it so easy on customers. However, a Rebound survey found that negative returns experiences can deter customers from shopping with a brand again. So let’s be honest, unless consumers change their buying habits, that’s not likely to happen.
- 30% of shoppers deliberately over-purchase and subsequently return unwanted items.
- 19% admitted to ordering multiple versions of the same item so they could make their mind up when they’re delivered.
So perhaps, as we all continue to find joy in our days by perusing the digital shopping aisles, we could remember to take a little pause and consider the planet before hitting “buy now” while thinking “return later.”
DHL partners with Riversimple in sustainability move
Riversimple Movement, a Welsh hydrogen vehicle manufacturer, has found a new partner in the world's 11th largest employer: DHL Supply Chain. The two companies, who have recently signed an MoU, pledge to bring sustainable zero-emission vehicles to the UK, and their targets don’t stop there. The duo looks to be busy, with their sights set on developing sustainability initiatives, securing the necessary finances required to achieve the volume production of hydrogen vehicles, and designing and subsequent trialling of zero-emission transport.
DHL has already begun assisting its new partner in preparing for its first full-scale manufacturing facility, which will house the production of hydrogen-electric vehicles.
“It’s exciting to be partnering with a highly innovative company like Riversimple, which has sustainability at the heart of its mission,” says Managing Director of DHL Manufacturing Logistics UKI, Mike Bristow. “As the world’s leading logistics company, it is our responsibility to guide the industry to a sustainable future.”
DHL has recently launched “The Sustainability Playbook”, designed to create a roadmap to implement the next generation of global supply chain.
“Excellence. Simply delivered. In a sustainable way.”
As one of the leading drivers in global trade, DHL claims to be aware of its immense responsibility to steer innovation. Conscious of the impact their global operations have on the environment, the company initiated “Strategy 2025” - delivering excellence in the digital world. The goal: to focus increasingly on harnessing the potential for sustainable long-term growth and expanding the already-underway digital transformations within the business.
“Strategy 2025” aims to cumulatively invest €2bn in digitalisation through to 2025, in the hope that this will enhance customer experiences. They also predict a €1.5bn yearly run rate by FY’25.
Currently, DHL boasts a large green logistics portfolio, including carbon offsetting, green optimisation, and clean fuel and energy products, all as available ways to make the supply chain industry more sustainable.
“We have repeatedly redefined logistics, from introducing the industry’s first green product to becoming the first logistics company to commit to a zero-emissions target,” says DHL.
“In the past 15 years, we have continuously improved our carbon efficiency while introducing innovative green logistics solutions to make supply chains more sustainable and help our customers achieve their environmental goals.”
DHL move to lead supply chain sustainability
As the world’s 11th largest employer, and with around 570,000 employees worldwide, DHL is in a position to lead the supply chain towards a greener future. Its recent partnership with Riversimple hopes to inspire other companies within the industry to follow.
Hugo Spowers, Founder and Managing Director of Riversimple, acknowledges DHL’s commitment to sustainability.
“We’re very pleased to be collaborating with DHL to help us achieve mass production in the UK in the near term, and hopefully partner with us on a global level as we deliver our goal of systematically eliminating the environmental impact of personal transport.