In this episode of Retail Right Now, Total Retail's Melissa Campanelli and Kristina Stidham discuss an article recently published on Total Retail titled, “Bracing for the Returns Avalanche,” authored by Andrew Hogenson of Infosys Consulting. Hogenson discusses the influx of product returns that retailers are currently dealing with following the 2020 holiday season, especially considering the COVID-induced surge in online shopping exploded the already strained supply chain. Now, retailers have to deal with a massive number of returned products, and the coronavirus ramifications have massively complicated an already intricate procedure. If not handled properly, this could be the tipping point for many retailers that causes them to go under.

The pandemic has intensified the pressure on retailers to optimize their returns process and smooth out the wrinkles in their supply chain and logistics strategies. Hogenson says that customer experience will be key to get right. He shares five strategies that retailers should consider to provide safe, easy ways to return merchandise that will lead to customer trust. Besides focusing on returns management, Hogenson says the best long-term solution for retailers to attract and retain customers, while enhancing customer loyalty in 2021 and beyond, would be to resolve the need for returns altogether. To learn how retailers can innovate to prevent returns, and to read the rest of Hogenson’s five strategies on managing returns, click here.

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