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Returns? But sustainably so! Rethinking returns management with PARCEL.ONE

By Partner


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Customers expect excellent service also in online shopping. They want generous return periods and, of course, the possibility to make returns free of charge. At the same time, consumers also demand sustainability on the part of e-commerce companies. Ecological shipping and an equally sustainable handling of returns therefore are among the core challenges of online retailers, especially in the fashion industry. PARCEL.ONE is an expert in logistics for cross-border commerce and supports online retailers in rethinking shipping and returns management. With innovative solutions for the entire supply chain, the company offers opportunities to make e-commerce more sustainable both economically and ecologically.

Sustainability is a central topic in e-commerce

While customers demand environmental sustainability from retailers, competitive pressure puts online shops under financial pressure. Because every "free" return for the customer generates costs for planning, control, and monitoring. However, goods must continue to be priced cost-effectively and, in a customer-oriented manner. Online retailers are faced with the problem of keeping shipping and returns costs as low as possible to operate efficiently.

Yet online retailers can do a lot to improve the handling of returns and reduce the returns rate: the keyword is sensitisation. Both customers and retailers should deal more consciously with the topic of shipping and returns. Developing sustainability concepts is a good initial step in this direction. Before a return even actually occurs, however, retailers can already sensitise their customers and create added value:

  • Sufficient product information avoids incorrect orders
  • Provide additional information on the ecological footprint of a shipment
  • Improved climatic balance by selecting the end customer´s preferred service provider

Avoid returns through product information and data sourcing

Returns can be avoided if customers aren't in for surprises when they unpack the goods. For them to be able to inform themselves sufficiently about a product, an optimised product presentation is needed. With high-resolution photos, meaningful descriptions and the use of new technologies such as virtual reality or augmented reality, online retailers are creating a new information management. If a return is nevertheless necessary, PARCEL.ONE supports online retailers with the re.PARCEL: solution: international returns are handled quickly and easily. In addition, data sourcing helps to collect information in the returns process and identify reasons for returns. Retailers can thus optimise their selection and presentation of goods based on the collected data. Not forgetting the returns of undelivered shipments due to poor delivery quality. Here, too, it is important to bet on the respective best service provider in the country of destination.

Sustainable materials and optimised routing

But it is not only the returns management that should be sustainable: Shipping is also a success factor that retailers can optimise from both an ecological and economic point of view. Here, sustainability concepts rely on more environmentally friendly materials for packaging, for example. Multiple packaging from cardboard boxes and recycled plastic shipping-bags that can be used multiple times offer opportunities for more sustainable shipping. PARCEL.ONE consolidates all international shipments from online retailers, finds the perfect carrier for each destination and advises retailers on the selection of sustainable packaging. Thanks to the uniform processing via PARCEL.ONE, returns are also pooled, thus conserving resources. Yet the price also counts. Customers naturally want the lowest possible shipping costs - preferably even free shipping. Optimised routing can help reduce the effort for shipping. With PARCEL Check, each individual shipment is optimally analysed according to goods value, transit time, size, weight and country-specific requirements and the shipment is automatically adjusted for the trader.

Sustainability is a learning process

Environmental sustainability and socially responsible returns management remain a learning process. It takes time until all retailers and customers are sensitised to a more conscious handling of returns. Online retailers can become pioneers by focusing on sustainable shipping materials, an informative product presentation and an optimised shipping and returns process. Anyone who wants to sustainably organise the entire logistics process from order acceptance to picking, packaging, and shipping to returns processing will get the perfect partner for international e-commerce in PARCEL.ONE as a fulfilment provider.

Take your cross-border commerce to the next level with PARCEL.ONE:

  • Transparent & fair all the way from integration to tracking and billing
  • One solution for all products - Letter, Parcel, Returns etc…
  • Over 45 Last-Mile-Carriers and worldwide networks
  • Over 400,000 shipping combinations
  • All with just one integration
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