Many of the e-commerce orders you’ve been fulfilling at light-speed during December will soon be heading back to you just as quickly. In 2017, over £2.5 billion of unwanted Christmas presents were returned to retailers after peak season. With the right plans in place, you can leverage these leftovers and even turn overstock problems into revenue-generating strategies.

Process Returns at Record Speeds

All e-commerce companies know to optimise fulfilment in advance of peak selling seasons. But few take the same steps when preparing a strategy for processing returns.

Although 97% of online retailers provide consignment tracking on outgoing deliveries, only 7% do the same for returned items — even though customers tend to check on in-transit packages an average of eight times. That means you can get a big edge on your competition simply by upping your returns process game.

One survey by Marketing Land found that 95% of consumers will shop again with a specific seller after having a positive returns experience. Another survey discovered that 70% of e-commerce consumers make additional purchases when returning items to a store, and that 45% will buy more when making a return online.

Creating a pain-free and friction-less returns process is one of THE most efficient ways to keep stock moving throughout the peak season rush. And the faster you process a return, the sooner it’ll be back in stock and ready to resell at full value.

Differentiate with Deliveries

These days, it’s not just the price of your product that keeps stock moving. Promises of fast and free shipping can have a big impact on which brands and retailers will win sales.

Whether the listing is on an e-commerce marketplace or your own web-store, consider shipping costs to be a big part of your overall pricing strategy. Why? Because 54% of consumers will abandon shopping carts if delivery is deemed too expensive, and 96% base their purchase decisions on the presence of free shipping.

Whether it’s lowering your threshold for free deliveries, increasing the number of free delivery qualifying products, or putting shipping front and centre in seasonal promotions, shifting the focus to fulfilment may be all you need start seeing an uptick in sales.

Leverage the Benefits of Bundling

The beauty of bundling is that it encourages larger purchases while simultaneously eliminating extra Christmas inventory. If certain items aren’t moving or are getting returned more frequently than others, look for ways to group them with complementary products that are selling well. Then offer the entire package at one competitive price.

Maybe it’s nonessential-but-fun kitchen utensils that pair well with a book on Christmas entertaining. Or it could be a golf gift set that’s sold along with popular outdoor gear for a one-of-kind gift. Be creative with your bundling! With so many consumers searching for ideas and inspiration, bundling is often your best bet when it comes to keeping excess inventory at bay.

A thoughtful bundling strategy will allow you to achieve three important goals. First, it makes it easy to sell several products at once, whether consumers are still in the midst of Christmas prep and gift shopping or have moved on to returns. Second, you’ll be creating a positive experience for consumers through convenience and cost. And third, your returns rate for slow moving or frequently returned items will drop considerably!

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