I’m not going to try and persuade you that returns management is critical. Unless you’ve been residing on another planet for the last two years, you’ll have noticed that returns management is at the top of the online retailers’ agenda.
I won’t throw statistics at you either. I’m sure that most of you are as bored as I am of people validating this space with dry analytics.
What I’d like to do instead is inspire you to join The Returns Revolution. At the heart of this revolution are three critical factors – consumer choice, consumer choice and… you’ve guessed it.
This is an authentic revolution. We are not talking about a ‘revolutionary’ new biscuit, pair of running shoes or vitamin supplement. There has been a global shift in buying behaviour and returns management is an absolutely central part of that. And the sooner we all accept this, the faster we can make consumers happy with our returns approach and start earning their loyalty.
You and I are already part of a bigger revolution – we’re in the hot seat, sitting between retailers and their customers. And there’s never been a better time to launch a product, service or idea into this space and achieve massive, international growth.
My company ReBOUND is a case in point of this bigger revolution at work. Four years ago we launched ReBOUND on a shoestring budget and with a few lines of code. What we had going for us was a great team (who are still with us) and a passion to challenge conventional thinking around returns, and what consumers and retailers really want.
We now have hundreds of household name brands all over the world using the ReBOUND platform, and we’re managing millions of returns transactions on their behalf. When we first entered the market, everyone thought we’d invented fire because we could get a return back from an international consumer and provide some pretty basic visibility. Returns management, especially cross-border returns, was that broken. A very poor relation to the long-established outbound supply chain.
Now the stakes are much higher. ReBOUND customers in every country want to implement or experiment with different strategies, for example which first mile service? Postal, parcel shop, courier, locker or a combination?
Are printerless returns available?
Free returns, part paid or consumer paid?
Refund immediately when the parcel gets back to HQ?
For the last four years we’ve been building a global eco system to support ReBOUND and answer these questions and many others. We did this for a very good reason – the eco system didn’t exist before we showed up. The really clever bit is how we enable shoppers and retailers to interact, but that’s a topic for another day.
So, welcome to The Returns Revolution everyone, and I wish you every success. But, I have a word of warning for all you returns revolutionaries out there. In any revolution there are winners and losers, and the people with the most to lose are the companies offering the one size fits all, take-it-or-leave-it options available today. They are the enemies of consumer choice and we at ReBOUND are ready to carry the fight on behalf of every retailer and consumer out there.
P.S if you want a sneaky peak at how some of the best in the business handle returns, why not download the benchmark from our website; http://www.reboundreturns.com/quarter-2-2017. Get inspired by someone else who’s getting it right (and it’s free!)
Graham Best, CEO of ReBOUND