October 31, 2007

Design right to limit returns

By DC Velocity Staff

In a session on retail strategies, Professor James Stock of the University of South Florida offered an interesting take on reverse logistics. In effect, Professor Stock recommended that, rather than trying to optimize their reverse logistics operations, companies instead concentrate on developing strategies for eliminating returns.

As for how companies can do that, Stock offered the following advice:

  • Standardize on sizes across your catalog: If a consumer finds that medium fits in one line of clothing, for example, that consumer should be able to assume that medium will fit throughout all the lines in your catalog.
  • Train your customer service reps to recognize the consumers who order the same item in multiple sizes, and coach the consumer to order the right size the first time.
  • View a return as a single event in an ongoing customer relationship, and optimize the relationship, not the event.