The true costs of product damage and returns for your business

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Christmas is the time of festive celebration, delicious food and – for many of us – exchanging presents.

Not always, however, what we give or receive is desired, and there may be occasions when we choose to return unwanted gifts.

2018 has only just started and the 2nd January, the first working day of the year, has already been “branded” the busiest day of the year for returns.

Women’s clothing is predicted to be among the most returned items, mainly due to purchasing the wrong size. Other commonly returned items include footwear and electronic goods*.

If you are an online retailer, the increased level of returns may put added pressure on your resources and capabilities as returns can be much more expensive than they seem at first glance…

Not only do you need to consider any expenses directly associated with processing returns such as your administration fees. You also need to take into account additional transport costs, extra labour time and the possibility of your products getting damaged on their way back to you.

There are a few things you can do to limit the impact of returns on your business, and one of them is to re-think your existing packaging.

Returnable packaging

Consider sending your products in packaging that can be easily reused for returns. Firstly, it will spare your customers the hassle of finding alternative packaging, showing off the level of services you can offer and enhancing customer experience with your brand.

Secondly, it will help ensure your products are returned to you safely in the most suitable packaging, limiting the likelihood of product damage in transit. Making customers have to find their own packaging can limit the influence on how the products are sent back to you.

Lastly, including a second seal strip on your box will help intensify security on return transportation, preventing parcels from opening and exposing any attempts of tampering.

Faster packaging operation

Ensure you get your returned stock back into the supply chain as soon as possible to avoid backlog and stress associated with piling orders. There are a few things you can do to ensure your packaging operation runs smoothly.

Train your staff and make sure their benches are well-organised and offer easy access to all the packing materials they need. This will help them work more efficiently and better manage the increased workload.

Automating your packaging operation will help you pack more efficiently. Auto-boxing, for example, can reduce your packing time by up to 50% as all packing, sealing and labelling are done automatically.

Professional packaging review

Macfarlane Packaging can perform a full review of your warehouse, packers, logistics and transport to analyse your current processes to identify areas for improvement. This service is free of change.

If you are interested in a professional packaging review, please get in touch:

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*Unwanted Christmas presents set to rise on busiest day of the year for returns: