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In e-com, electronics tops 'returned goods' list; A peek at other reverse logistics nuggets

16 Aug, 2012

For any e-tailer operating in India (or across the globe, for that matter), returned merchandise is essentially one pain point that is bound to increase operational costs but must be endured to earn customer loyalty. While most e-commerce firms have a 30-day return policy nowadays, the fine print is never the same. For instance, one company would only bear the mailing cost if it has delivered unwanted or damaged goods. But another electronics e-tailer is ready to pay large sums to allow its customers to mail back the goods and no questions will be asked. In fact, return policies have now evolved into customer retention tools rather than an add-on facility. Delhi-based Chhotu.in, which specialises in last-mile logistics for e-commerce firms, has shared some insights into the system.

Highlights

  • Overall returns amount to just around 6 per cent, which looks reasonable.
  • Almost one in four (22 per cent) electronics products ordered online is returned, which makes it a risky category, considering it could well be a higher value purchase.
  • Apparel & footwear, followed by eye care products (we would guess sunglasses and contact lenses), are the other product categories which see higher-than-average returns percentage.
  • One of the key reasons for returns is that customers want open box delivery which e-commerce companies do not allow.
  • Other reasons include: Customer has already purchased the product from some other source; product quality is not good and delayed delivery.
(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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