Third-party logistics specialist Rhenus helps retailers thrive in a time of increased returns
As the rate at which consumers are returning items continues to increase, Rhenus Warehousing Solutions UK is providing retail brands with expertise and highly efficient, sustainable third-party logistics.
Over the past few years, the UK retail market has seen a rapid increase in demand for online shopping. Many consumers prefer to shop for items from the comfort of their own homes, making purchases at the click of a button and transforming their bedrooms into retail stores and changing rooms.
This increase in online demand, however, has led to the retail industry having to deal with a higher rate of returned items, sometimes up to 40 per cent. In the fashion sector, more than half of all clothes purchased online are returned.
Last year’s Black Friday and Christmas periods saw increases in returned items, leaving many retailers finding out that their peak seasons weren’t as successful as originally thought.
Over the Black Friday weekend, returns were up eight per cent from 2021 in the UK, and in general, 80 per cent of items purchased during the season end up as waste within a year. The Christmas statistics are even more dramatic, as the returns of gifts and sale items increased by 48 per cent.
To combat this increased demand, and avoid taking on significant financial losses, a number of retailers have begun charging for UK customers to return orders online, such as Zara, Next, Boohoo and Bershka. Zara now charges GBP 1.95, Boohoo deducts GBP 1.99 from the amount customers are refunded and Bershka deducts GBP 3.95 if the return is made after the first 15 days.
Alongside implementing these charges, fashion brands are combating the high rate of returned items by re-addressing sizing of clothes, to avoid consumers having to buy the same garment in two or three sizes, and online retailers are introducing AI, so shoppers are able to see how an item looks before buying.
By advancing this technology, retailers will be able to prevent returns from being made in the first place, leading to an increase in their profitability, a reduction in waste, and to them having a positive impact on the environment. A high number of returns can make or break a brand, so getting it right is vital to maintaining brand loyalty and staying afloat financially.
The UK’s cost of living crisis is also having a huge impact on retailers, as there is a reduction in consumer spending and general market confidence is wavering. Retailers are struggling with the changing pace of demand for their products and, in effect, with storage space. In order to cope with this shift in demand, brands need to re-evaluate their forecasting and inventory plans for 2023.
As more and more retailers look to evolve the way their online shops operate, many are looking for extra support, as their internal warehousing systems are no longer able to keep up with demand. Rhenus Warehousing Solutions UK is offering its support by providing brands with sustainable and efficient logistics solutions, allowing retailers to focus on its consumers whilst Rhenus takes care of the rest.
Rhenus is able to process returns in a way that is reliable, fast, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly. The third-party supplier embraces innovative technology and advanced automation to ensure that returned purchases are sent back to the retailer quickly and in a re-sellable condition, helping to reduce the amount of clothing and other items that end up in landfill.
Retailers who work with Rhenus can also benefit from having a reduced carbon footprint, something which is hugely important in today’s climate. More consumers than ever before are only buying from, and remaining loyal to, brands who are sustainable and conscious of their environmental impact.
Kerry Delaney, Regional Managing Director North-West Europe at Rhenus Warehousing Solutions UK, said: “This shift in consumer behaviour and increasing rate of returned items is drastically impacting the retail sector. At Rhenus Warehousing Solutions UK, we have been supporting those in the industry for many years, so we are on-hand to offer a tailored service that caters to each retailer’s precise needs. We understand the challenges that brands now face and are dedicated to helping them cope with returns in a way that is beneficial to them, the consumer and the environment.”
Rhenus Warehousing Solutions UK has over 30 years of experience working with high-profile brands, and handles hundreds of millions of fashion items per annum.
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