It’s not safe to call Cyber Monday a success until the returns have been processed. E-commerce customers are increasingly treating online shopping as a cyber changing room, and no-questions-asked returns are increasingly common. For retailers like Amazon.com and Walmart.com, which have extensive reverse logistics infrastructure in place, that’s no problem – in fact, it’s a major selling point. Customer are much more willing to buy if the risks are lower.
However, for smaller retailers, especially those just making the leap into cyber sales, its more complicated. While they can outsource their reverse logistics with companies like UPS’ recent acquisition, Optoro, reverse logistics tie up a significant amount of their inventory in “sales” that will never add to their bottom line. For mom-and-pops, those numbers matter, and so the next hurdle for the industry will be reducing costs on the returns side, and making it a welcoming space for smaller companies.