June 1st, 2017

Reverse Logistics for Faster, Simpler Returns

Reverse Logistics | SML RFIDIn the retail world, product returns are an unfortunate fact of life. The need to accommodate returns quickly and unconditionally is a key aspect of good customer service, whether you are selling online or in the store. Yet the overall costs incurred in returning and exchanging merchandise can take a big bite out of your profits.

In order to process returns faster and more cost-efficiently, consider the principal of reverse engineering… The use of RFID technology has become accepted as a common tool to track inventory throughout the retail supply chain, from the source to the store. But merchandise flows in more than one direction — RFID also helps reduce the time and money spent processing returns.

For example, with Clarity item-level inventory management and a handheld reader equipped with a Geiger counter, you can make quick work of the tasks associated with returns using fewer personnel, both in-store and in the warehouse or distribution center. Returns can be tracked by a variety of search parameters, including product line, manufacturer, store, date of sale or consumer.

Because RFID helps eliminate needless time spent processing returns, the experience can be faster and more enjoyable for customers as well, helping to build greater loyalty. In addition, the ability to trace transaction processing steps allows retailers to quickly identify quality issues or fulfillment mistakes, as well as facilitating recalls, when needed.

A number of large retailers are using RFID to speed and simplify product returns. For retail giant Target, dealing with the sheer volume of online orders that are returned on a regular basis prompted them to individually track items with RFID tags during the return process. This not only helps to track inventory throughout the return process, it changes the way they manage inventory overall… and changes the ROI of their business for the better.