Last year, it seemed the world took returns in the USA more seriously as we crossed the $1 trillion mark in the USA. For 2021, the NRF reported $761 billion in retail product returns, and we know that B2B returns of off lease computers and other IT equipment added more than $250 billion of goods. That is a lot of products that need to be processed and hopefully resold into the secondary market. We know there will be an increase for the year 2022 as the ecommerce share of retail business grows with their higher return's percentages. The tsunami of returns continues.
I have learned during my time in returns management there is no one silver bullet that will stop returns. The recent growth of the Circular Economy philosophy and programs based on that idea have begun to make a difference. Design for reuse is growing in high tech product categories, the apparel and shoe industry, the furniture industry, and others. The motto of Eileen Fisher Apparel – “Buy Better, Buy Less” – reflects another direction for companies to consider. The Right to Repair movement is growing traction as another way for companies to provide consumers with service options beyond the throwaway society. And the secondary market has retailers growing with more stores even while the malls and mainstream retailers are closing locations.
All of these changes and upheavals in the returns industry are part of the reason to be active in our industry association and join us at our 2023 events. The 19th Annual Conf & Expo will be the best and largest event of its kind in the world. We will only feature high content on our stage and in our sessions. We will have RL industry awards, informal and private Roundtables for our members, lots of networking time, and even a charity outing at Top Golf for a very worthy cause. If you haven't already joined, become a member of the only returns and reverse logistics industry association, and learn how successful companies manage returns. Make a difference for your company and the planet.