There’s only a week to go to the biggest (and most painful) day of the year for those working in retail’s supply chain.
However, the pressure doesn’t relent when those Black Friday bargains are delivered. Retailers have another headache to contend with: returns.
The migration of Black Friday to online – the scenes of shoppers fighting for cut-price tellies at Asda have put many off visiting the high street for bargains – has resulted in a big rise in returns.
Supply chain specialist LCP Consulting estimates that five million parcels purchased on Black Friday will be returned.
This means that retailers will have to cope with an additional 50% of daily returns volumes during the week immediately following Black Friday.
Some sectors will be harder hit than others. In fashion, almost two-thirds of purchases could be returned, according to LCP retail partner Stuart Higgins.
Maximising reselling time
With less than a month until Christmas, retailers need to get shoppers to return unwanted Black Friday items as quickly as possible to get that stock back in-store or online for festive shoppers to buy.
Otherwise, the prospect of mountainous piles of products for markdown looms.
Offering customers many quick, easy returns routes is more critical than ever during this period. That means having a wealth of third-party return options, as well as a comprehensive offer of one’s own.
“When I discovered the new winter coat I bought made me look like a yeti, I simply took it back to the Doddle store and they repackaged it and labelled it up for me”
Hermes Parcelshop, Collect+, Doddle – retailers should embrace all of the options available to them.
I actually used Doddle for the first time last month and was impressed at how easy it made returns.
When I discovered the new winter coat I bought made me look like a yeti (not the look I was going for), I simply took it back to the Doddle store and they repackaged it and labelled it up for me.
Another important factor that can impact returns is communications. Often too-tight dresses I’ve been meaning to return end up lying underneath a pile of clothes for weeks before I discover and return them.
This is much-needed processing and selling time for retailers. A few well-timed emails and text messages asking customers to review their purchases could trigger shoppers like me to send back that parcel earlier.
And every extra day a retailer has to sell those goods before Christmas is vital.