RLA Sees Increase in Returns Volumes and Costs

December 2, 2021

The Reverse Logistics Association released results of its first returns management survey. Over half of survey respondents indicated increases in costs and volumes of returns during the third quarter and expect the trend to continue in the fourth quarter.

Specifically 65% of respondents expect product returns will increase in Q4. A smaller number of respondents (32%), said their returns will stay the same.

According to survey respondents, increases in rising transportation and warehousing costs and capacity limits within supply chains are contributing to the higher costs in returns management.

“The number of returns and costs associated with them continues to climb adding to an already tough environment of rising freight costs, capacity constraints and delays,” according to Tony Sciarrotta, Executive Director of RLA. “Despite the tough environment, there are ways to reduce the number and cost of returns.”

Bob Bova, President, CEO of AccuSpeechMobile added, "With the introduction of Covid into an already evolving stay at home shopping experience, returns and reverse logistics is becoming a critical area within companies to control costs while providing a more expected level of customer service. Providing tech that can streamline this process, like voice and vision automation, will provide companies with the kind of investment that will have a quick ROI and instill confidence in their customer base."

Ken Bays, the Vice President Product Management at Inmar Intelligence said, "Inmar recently conducted a holiday returns survey that revealed only 52 percent of retailers are optimistic that they can meet and potentially exceed demand this year. Those less optimistic had concerns regarding existing supply chain constraints, transportation partners, insufficient labor, and increased competition.

The survey also examines how retailers are responding to changes in consumer behavior related to the pandemic, how they will handle seasonal returns, and what shoppers can expect to receive when they make returns. Click here for more survey results.

To learn more about managing returns, click here to listen to a related Outlook Series interview."

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