Product returns is a stage of the supply chain that most electronic manufacturers would rather not think about, but today’s consumer electronics supply chain is more complex than ever, and customers demand an exceptional customer experience, from point of purchase through to delivery. You work hard to build brand loyalty which can be lost all too quickly when the returns process is not managed effectively.
Research suggests that consumers only spend half an hour trying to work a product before returning it. Any new or innovative device then faces pressured reverse logistics.
According to IHL Group, Market Research, consumers return more than $642 billion of goods globally each year, with nearly 25% coming from high value markets.
Dealing with damaged and returned goods has become as important as selling the product itself and requires a robust returns process to ensure that your total supply chain is as cost-effective as possible.
Many manufacturers are happy to accept a small return on their returned products, but what if, taking a fresh look at your returns process could yield higher returns in an environmentally friendly and responsible way?
1. Recover costs of returned goods
Steve Koenig’s ‘Inside the Minds of the Consumer’ keynote speech for the Reverse Logistics Association found that only 50% of the 55+ age group find their consumer electronics devices easy or very easy to use. Consequently, a large proportion are mistakenly returned as faulty, resulting in high volumes of returns draining your bottom line.
Expert management of products’ aftermarket life cycle enables you to capture the maximum recovery value for reused goods. A repair and refurbishment service is therefore fundamental to capturing the maximum value from reselling and or responsible disposal.
This is where reverse logistics becomes an important stage in your supply chain. Returns are fully assessed at the point of return, then sorted by trained technicians to identify goods that are either fully functioning, to be returned to the consumer or that can be repaired, reused and repacked. Repacked goods can then be sold to a secondary market to recover the maximum value instead of a small nominal value and any recycling is done in an environmentally friendly and responsible way.
High profile technology recalls have been hitting the headlines recently and if your logistics aren’t handled effectively you can permanently damage your brand equity.
Protecting your customer relations is vital for consumer electronic manufactures. A 3PL partner who uses real time data for your supply chain will enhance any responsive recalls process, which not only helps to streamline warehouse touch points but also helps effectively track products throughout the supply chain enabling speedy identification of where faulty products need to be retrieved from.
Therefore, a reverse logistics solution tailored to you that enables you to not only retain but also build brand loyalty and delight your customers through a smooth returns process.
Comprehensive recycling practices are key for responsible supply chain management. A zero-landfill policy can help counter adverse environmental effects from electronics device waste.
If a device is irreparable, reclaiming recyclable parts and precious metals can help improve your bottom line as there are also tangible cost benefits from ensuring your supply chain is as green as possible.
Your 3PL partner will need an infrastructure in place to do this, as well as trained technicians in-house to assess and handle goods.
Do you have an end of life strategy and should consumer electronics manufacturers be going further?
Take for instance the short shelf life of wearable tech. No sooner have you purchased your new smartwatch and the next model is released. Considering the end of life disposal for wearable tech is becoming an important issue with the growing plastic pollution crisis we all face.
Recycling and disposal of wearable tech may require a voluntarily consumer returns process to deliver a truly closed-loop supply chain for wearables, which could be managed through the following potential channels:
- Retailers or manufacturer trade-in program
- Online recycling through purchase of old wearables
- Donation of wearables as medical devices.
Developing innovative end of life solutions that are aligned with changing market conditions, can recover significant value from used products.
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