The Growing Demand for International Returns
As consumers become more educated on efficient ways to purchase goods abroad, merchants are increasingly expected to provide a localized buying experience for their international customers. Gone are the days when consumers would dive into the murky waters of international commerce at the risk of their own wallet. Merchants have wised up to the fact that not offering international returns to their customers is a barrier to their success. As a consumer, knowing that you can return a product before making the purchase is a huge driver locally, and that is not different in the international marketplace.
Now that the market has determined merchants must offer international returns to their customers if they want their cross-border business to prosper, the problem arises — what do they do with the returned product? Consumer requirements are very simple: “I just want to return the product and get my money back.” However, merchants have the additional problem of managing the returned merchandise. This puts the responsibility on logistics providers to offer a robust international returns program that caters to merchant requirements. Currently, a simple return and disposal option is sufficient to handle merchant needs; however, as consumer demands evolve quickly, so too will the merchant’s.
From a merchant standpoint, how great would it be to give second life to returned product? Logistics companies are scrambling to find ways to offer merchants the opportunity to manage returns as active inventory, without physically having the product back in their facilities. Managing these returned products all across the globe can prove to be quite costly, and when the products are possibly devalued after being delivered and now returned, the price tag of certain return programs can be off-putting.
The bottom line is that as a merchant, your primary concern with international returns is what to do with products that have been returned by the consumer. The problem is further exacerbated because these products are now located in various locations around the globe. There are now borders, time zones, foreign exchange rates and currency, international regulations and inventory issues to contend with.
Creating a returns solution to manage these complications will prove difficult. The natural evolution of logistics companies will need to adapt to provide a comprehensive international returns solution at an affordable cost, while ensuring that product offerings cater to today’s merchant needs as well as those of tomorrow. Enabling merchants to turn a potential loss into a revenue stream is the solution that logistics companies are all striving toward.
As a merchant, the question you should ask is this: Is your logistics provider able to support you with a solution during the infancy stage of this evolving consumer requirement?