Anthony Brimelow, Commercial Director at Duo UK, explained to eDelivery how an easier returns policy can reduce waste and environmental impact.
With the ability to shop online 24/7, consumers expect the same convenience throughout the purchase, dispatch and delivery process. Every step must be as quick and convenient as possible, but there is one element of this process that remains slightly more complicated: returning unwanted items. However, a streamlined returns process can be key to gaining repeat customers and increasing brand loyalty, something that is crucial in a crowded market such as fast fashion.
Clear Returns Policy
Having a clear returns policy should be the first step that online retailers take to make the process easier for their customers. Make it concise, easy to understand and featured prominently on the website so that potential customers don’t have to actively search for the small print.
Smart Packaging Design
The actual returns process should be simple, too, with as few steps as necessary. Simple pioneering design innovations to a mailing bag have made a considerable difference to the returns process. The addition of a second glue strip with a serration, means that when a customer opens their delivery, the second glue line is preserved, and if they want to return unwanted items, they can use the same bag their order came in to send it back. This reduces the overall consumption of packaging, and removes the need for a customer to purchase a new packaging item.
Duo has invested in barcode printers and a system of sequential labelling, which enables unique information to be printed directly onto each mailing bag. As well as enabling the retailer to keep track on usage of each packaging item, this technology can also be used to print a returns label eradicating the need to print off, and include a paper label within the package.
Printing directly onto the mailing bag makes the bag easier to recycle in a closed loop recycling system and results in brands gaining higher value back on their scrap, something that allows a retailer to ease its margins on returned items.
Recoup Revenue from Returned Waste
Retailers who segregate their waste polythene returned by online retail customers from other material streams are generating income from this valuable waste stream. Duo collects and recycle this valuable commodity and will pay based on quality which can be used to off-set their packaging spend. The recycled pellets are put to good use by being used to make new packaging items and reduce dependency on finite, virgin polythene. It also contributes to reducing a company’s carbon footprint.
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