"All Things Returns"
By Susan Haupt, RVCF
At the beginning of 2019 we began to think about “what happens next” to all of the unwanted, ill-fitting or otherwise “not quite right” purchases made as gifts or otherwise during the Holiday Season. The issue is complicated, reaching far beyond the consumers’ sending the item on it’s way back to the retailer, and so RVCF started the year with a look at the impact of RETURNS for both the retailer and manufacturer.
Education and Research
Our initial work included partnering with Newmine who hosted a webinar (“Building a Strong Defense Against Rising Customer Returns”) and sponsored a survey intended to shed light on why returns are such an costly challenge for the retail industry and what steps can be taken to reduce returns and boost bottom lines. A whitepaper followed summarizing the results of this study.
The conversation continued at the RVCF Spring 2019 Conference in Teaneck, NJ with a presentation by Newmine on “Leveraging AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) to reduce consumer Returns.” and a workshop facilitated by Barkley Consulting through which participants used the interactive problem solving approach of “Design Thinking” to rethink the returns process. The session concluded with teams presenting their prototyped solutions.
We are wrapping up 2019 by taking a deeper dive into the reasons behind the return and once again invite you to share your expertise in this new piece of research.
The “Design Thinking” workshop that was so well received last Spring will be offered again at the RVCF Fall Conference. For anyone interested in attending, this session will take place on Tuesday, November 5th beginning at 8:30 am. In order to achieve the maximum value of participation we ask that you plan to attend this full day session in it’s entirety.
Another session on the Fall Conference agenda will be an insightful presentation by Jessica Couch, a Fit technology Expert who will address “The Value of Matching Products to People Through Fit Based Practices”. Current estimates indicate the 65% of e-com fashion purchases are returned for incorrect fit. This session will take a deeper look at creating value across the supply chain through the use of fit based technologies to help reduce the high cost of returns, dead inventory and volume of textile waste in the US.
It will be interesting to see what the future holds as we approach the 2019 Holiday shopping and return season. We hope that our focus this year will bring some new ideas to the table that will result in greater customer satisfaction with their purchases resulting in reduced numbers of returns.
In case you missed it…