Voices from Accenture Public Service


This is the second of a two-part blog on frictionless returns. You can find the first part here.

Consumers increasingly expect hassle-free returns and exchanges and it’s costing retailers millions. With the rise of e-commerce, returns have become an integral part of the digital customer experience.

This increase in returns offers post and parcel organisations opportunities to integrate with retailers and grow alongside e-commerce. They can add value to the returns process by helping retailers improve the customer experience and find ways to lower reverse logistics costs. As returns becomes an increasingly important element to customer experience, post and parcel organisations must consider three key strategies to remain competitive.

  1. Invest in intelligent solutions. Analytics and artificial intelligence can enable organisations to offer more than just a return. For example, Optoro, the world’s leading reverse logistics platform, uses machine learning to help retailers and brands find new homes for returned merchandise. Increasingly, e-tailers are looking for smart solutions that help them manage inventory while lowering the cost of returns.
  2. Become the first-mile provider of choice. Postal organisations have distinct competitive advantage in first mile because they are the only organisation that will pass by every home in a country on a daily basis. Build out the delivery network to accommodate parcel deliveries and pickups and offer a returns first mile product.
  3. Focus on the consumer experience. According to UPS, that experience must include free shipping, a hassle-free returns policy, easy-to-print return labels, timely refunds, and return label in the box[1]. Customers want easy, free returns and quick refunds.

Successful organisations will look at the experience from the customer’s point of view and look to use automation and other intelligent technologies to lower costs and increase the scale of their services. Forming strategic partnerships with retailers that embrace returns as a necessary part of their business model will help post and parcel organisations embed themselves in the evolving delivery ecosystem as innovative startups enter and disrupt the industry. Finding the right approach is key. Visit us at accenture.com/postandparcel to explore how to find value in disruption and follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

[1] https://pressroom.ups.com/pressroom/ContentDetailsViewer.page?ConceptType=PressReleases&id=1482804623017-283

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