Propelled in part by the unpredicted Covid-19 situation, and in part by the growing digital disruption that is touching every industry today, e-commerce is soon becoming the first sales channel for more and more retailers globally. The omnichannel ecosystem is soon becoming a new normal amongst the retail community.
However, as retailers are striving hard to bring all these conveniences to their customers, the environment is bearing the cost. From globalized supply chains to increased flexibility in delivery options or the larger-than-life packaging, retailers are getting increasingly creative with their shopping experience offerings, and unfortunately, impacting their carbon footprint as a result. The “returns culture” in particular, is a stark factor contributing to this sustainability threat. With free returns becoming a popular norm amongst all webshops, many consumers tend to have a “buy more and return a few” mindset. This has put heavy pressure on the retailers’ profitability and their overall supply chains, with the environment suffering collateral damage as a result. Brands often build common warehouses where returns from multiple locations can be sorted, bundled together and shipped back to the stores or customers. Since it is a common large set-up, it is usually very far away from the customers or even the stores, increasing the amount of transport needed each time substantially, and correspondingly increasing the environmental damage and their costs.
In the efforts of balancing customer experience and convenience, e-commerce systems end up compromising on excessive carbon footprints.
However, a new collective “conscious” is taking form amongst the newer generations of customers. With the efforts of social media and active movements, people are growing aware of how their purchasing choices are affecting the planet, and they are expecting retailers to take heed. In fact, Deloitte’s Global Powers of Retailing 2019 report even states that “Opportunity awaits retailers committed to driving change in more responsible practices, as consumers increasingly expect that brands should be accountable for sustainable manufacturing practices, transparency and reducing their overall carbon footprint. In a consumer-led sector such as retail, failure to take heed of this could be fatal.”
This convergence of interest in sustainability and environmental well-being is an opportunity for brands to nurture strong customer loyalty and trust, by showing customers why they care and how they are doing their bit to protect the planet.
At yayloh, we truly believe that the rare combination of People, Planet and Profit can go hand in hand, and we would like to achieve it with you.
yayloh’s digitized returns platform enables you to better organize your customers’ returns and quickly compile their requirements and complaints. This data will help you better optimize your product offerings and guide your suppliers in real-time, allowing you to cater to their relevant needs and reduce the overall number of returns. The digitized process would also mean that you can track the returns efficiently and fasten the returns-to-shelf process and the refunds. Thus, you will be able to offer a seamless post-purchase experience while still managing to cut costs and pivot towards sustainability, a win-win situation indeed.
Additionally, returns management in real-time will also allow retailers the ultimate omnichannel advantage - yayloh can help retailers seamlessly integrate their online and offline channels, allowing them to build an efficient, profitable and environment-friendly sales strategy while offering consumers the convenience of faster and flexible in-store returns or exchanges. In fact, enabling smooth omnichannel interphase can help retailers incentivize customers to return products in-store rather than shipping it to the distant distribution centres, thereby positively impacting the environment, your bottom lines, and if you play your in-store marketing right, your top-lines as well.
We at yayloh understand that in this accelerating e-commerce industry, offering greater choice and flexibility to customers is a challenge, especially when comparing the costs and emissions they are likely to leave behind. But balancing these three contradicting forces in a sustainable manner will help retailers keep their edge, and we would like to make that happen with you!