Businesses looking to scale with the growth of online shopping are investing in more efficient and cost-effective reverse logistics strategies.

As e-commerce continues to rewrite the rules of shipping and logistics, businesses are looking to streamline their operations, cut costs where possible, and drive value across the board. These changes matter: reports indicate that global logistics spending could reach over $10 trillion by 2020.

For many companies, processing returns properly can be a drain on resources and a headache for supply chain professionals. Receiving returned orders, crediting customers for unwanted items, and determining the future use for products can cause delays and depress consumer satisfaction if the process isn’t handled quickly and accurately.

Accordingly, businesses are investing in more effective reverse logistics strategies. With online shopping taking a greater and greater share of market value, it’s never been more important to ensure that returns are managed in a way that drives value and boosts customer loyalty.

Curious what this might look like for your online business? Check out these three ways businesses are keeping pace with e-commerce demand and designing reverse logistics strategies for their needs.

1. Better Return Policies

The proliferation of online shopping — driven by e-commerce giants such as Amazon — has taught today’s consumers to expect fast, cheap returns. E-retailers looking to stay competitive have taken heed, with many adopting return policies that can compete with companies of any size.

Generous return policies require reverse logistics strategies to match. For example, some companies have stopped requiring that customers return unwanted or damaged items that would otherwise cause a headache to ship, process, and restock. Others, including Amazon, have moved to place holds on the accounts of customers making frequent and unnecessary returns so that their resources are directed toward customers who aren’t abusing lax policies.

2. Smarter Digital Strategy

Coordinating an increasing flow of products from distribution centers to e-commerce customers — and back again — calls for greater investment in digital infrastructure. Accordingly, many businesses are incorporating more sophisticated platforms into their supply chain in order to better manage their resources and teams to ensure that orders are processed properly.

With cloud-based, IoT-enabled order, warehouse, and transportation management systems (OMS, WMS, and TMS, respectively), e-retailers can gain end-to-end visibility into the flow of returned products, monitor their inventory, and observe the status of orders in transit. Thanks to better data, companies can make more informed decisions when it’s time to restructure their supply chain or make necessary fixes.

3. Stronger Logistics Partnerships

For businesses looking to compete with e-commerce operations like Walmart and Amazon, finding logistics providers with reverse logistics infrastructure of their own is becoming a must.

Increasingly, companies are forming substantive partnerships with third-party logistics (3PLs) partners and integrated logistics services providers (ISPs) in order to manage part or all of their e-commerce returns and processing. By leveraging their internal technology and industry expertise, businesses can invest in a top-of-the-line reverse logistics strategy without having to make costly capital investments themselves.

At Primary Freight, we’ve spent over twenty years at the forefront of every development in the shipping and logistics industry. With an award-winning customer service team and state-of-the-art facilities, we have the resources that e-retailers need to scale confidently and cost-effectively. If you’re wondering how an experienced logistics provider can benefit your reverse logistics operation — and your supply chain as a whole — our team is standing by.

If you’d like to learn more about Primary Freight’s award-winning shipping services and reliable customer service, contact us today at (800)-635-0013.