In the wake of the growing ‘try before you buy’ shopping trend, Antalis Packaging is advising e-retailers to stringently review their ‘returns-ready’ packaging and logistics procedures in order to safeguard their margins.

The advent of online shopping, while a progressive step forward in ease and convenience, has undoubtedly changed the face of retail beyond recognition. This impact hits even harder at seasonal retail sales spikes, such as the summer spike which is currently in full swing – and which is expected to peak earlier than usual due to the online retail goliath’s annual Amazon Prime Day, inciting consumers to complete their back to school purchases ahead of the game while prices are low and deliveries, and sometimes returns, are free.[1]

 

Andrew Smedley, head of e-commerce and logistical packaging at Antalis packaging, comments: “The seismic shift towards online and mobile-only sales continues to gather pace, with online spending for department stores achieving a new record proportion of online retailing last month [May 2018] at 17.4%[2].

“At the same time, the ease of online shopping has fundamentally changed customer behaviour. Where once, consumers would walk into bricks-and-mortar stores to see, test, feel and try-on products before purchasing, the rise of hassle-free incentives such as free delivery and returns mean customers are now much more inclined to over-purchase as a way to ‘try before you buy.’ As a result though, many retailers are struggling to cope with the impact a culture of overbuying and excessive returning is having on their profit lines.”

Antalis Packaging has identified three areas that require urgent attention from retailers if they wish to optimise their profitability when faced with returns:

  1. Streamline the returns process

The average returned purchase in the UK is a long and costly process, passing through seven pairs of hands before the item is listed for resale, by which time many will be regarded as out of season and sold at discount. Antalis Packaging has been helping more and more retailers to eradicate the step which sees items sent back to a central distribution warehouse for sorting, and instead provide appropriate yet cost-effective packaging directly to staff so that returned goods can be repacked in-store, ready for a swift resale.

  1. Opt for ‘returns ready’ packaging

A myriad of innovative packaging and logistical solutions are available from Antalis Packaging, designed to guarantee that not only can products be delivered from A to B on time and in perfect condition, but can also be returned easily without breaking the bank and being damaged through the rough and tumble of the logistics environment.

  1. Optimise warehouse operations

With space increasingly at a premium in the logistics environment, using solutions such as recyclable palletised containers or mobile storage racks can go a long way; not only in saving valuable warehousing space, but also in creating a slick returns process that reduces chances of lost revenue due to goods being damaged.

 

Andrew Smedley concludes: “Amid the growing complexity of the logistics supply chain, many e-commerce traders have traditionally overlooked the importance of putting in official processes for returned goods. For others, it may be an area that’s proving a minefield to navigate, in which case, packaging specialists like Antalis Packaging can help businesses see the simplicity in the chaos.”

To find out more about the full Antalis Packaging range, go to www.antalispackaging.co.uk. For more information on Antalis’ free packaging audit visit www.antalispackagingsolutions.co.uk or call one of the Antalis Packaging experts on 0370 241 1466.

[1] https://www.spscommerce.com/blog/shopping-seasons-consumer-spsa/

[2]https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/retailindustry/bulletins/retailsales/may2018