With over half of UK shoppers saying that they regularly return items bought online, the BCMPA – the Association for Contract Manufacturing, Packing, Fulfilment & Logistics –says trust in efficient returns handling is an essential part of the online shopping experience.
“Ecommerce packaging has to fulfil many different requirements,” explains Rodney Steel, BCMPA chief executive. “It must be specifically designed to protect products while, particularly for higher value items, still having the wow factor when opened by the customer. Just as important, consumers expect the process of returning unwanted items to be simple and trouble-free.”
As well as designing packaging to be able to cope with a potential two-way journey, the returns process brings many challenges when the products arrive back at base. Third-party fulfilment houses therefore need to offer more than the normal logistics warehousing facilities. Returns handling requires dedicated space and a team of trained staff. The returned products need to be sorted according to the individual customer instructions and then returned to stock, re-used in different packs or recycled.
Recognising this demand and the need for specialist support, the BCMPA’s recently updated website and search facility specifically includes members with expertise in reverse logistics and returns handling, as well as many other contract packing, manufacturing and logistics services essential to providing an effective eCommerce operation. These include the handling of membership programmes, personalisation, print and call handling.
“BCMPA members have been playing a vital role in the smooth running of ecommerce fulfilment and the consequential returns handling,” says Rodney Steel. “Importantly, in a world where any consumer dissatisfaction can be quickly and widely shared on social media, this ensures that the brand owner’s reputation remains intact.”