Edition 131, June 2024

Message from the Publisher

By Tony Sciarrotta, Reverse Logistics Association

The Best Return Is No Return. As I review this edition of RL Magazine and the articles featured, the cover story by Dan Main of Bidpath is a reminder of the importance of the customer experience to reduce returns. The “3-legged stool” that summarizes the RL and returns industry includes reducing returns, processing them efficiently, and growing asset recovery. As I learned at Philips years ago, there are many amazing partners in the RLA community who focus on those areas and can help retailers and manufacturers achieve those goals.

Customer experience has been identified as the leading cause of returns in studies over the years, in consumer surveys, and by consultants. “The product was not what I expected” would be the leading reason code if offered by more retailers. Products with many pictures, extensive descriptions, accurate sizing and dimensions, and good reviews are returned less than those without. As a wise and experienced thought leader told me years ago, most people do not shop and buy things only to return them. Unfortunately, ecommerce has changed some of that perspective in recent years. But the basic truth is still that retailers should tell people what they are buying, and then meet or exceed their expectations.

Building customer loyalty is about providing consumers with as much information about their purchase as possible, and then delivering on that promise. As the RL Magazine stories mention, retailers build trust with good communications, honest product information, analyzing repeat customers, and recognizing customers as special when appropriate with loyalty levels. Good marketing can help to set customer expectations, and great marketing can find ways to exceed them. Then retailers will see fewer returns. It can be that easy and members of the RLA community can help.

Tony Sciarrotta