With the seasonal shopping stampede nearly upon us, Antalis Packaging is advising businesses to make sure their packages are ‘return ready’ amid an escalating culture of overbuying and excessive returning.
Amid the transition to online shopping, today’s businesses are having to not only up the ante when it comes to their internet capabilities, stock inventory and delivery mechanisms, but they are also having to contend with the extra stress placed on their supply chain due to an unparalleled increase in returns. A previous study has estimated that the cost of returns could amount to as much as £60 billion a year for UK retailers – with the consensus that 2017 could end on an even greater figure.
In response, Antalis Packaging is reminding businesses to ensure that their packaging products and procedures are designed to cope with the fallout from returns.
Jason Poxon, packaging technologist at Antalis, commented: ‘The advent of online shopping has shaken up the purchase model like never before as customers have become much more inclined to over purchase as a way to ‘try before they buy’. As such, the pressure placed on the reverse supply chain has never been greater, with some returned products changing hands as much as seven times before being placed for resale.
‘This in turn, puts increased onus on the choice of packaging, whereby it should be easy for the customer to return and durable enough to withstand multiple points of contact through the supply chain. In some cases, dependent on the nature of the product, it may even be that a bespoke solution is the best option.
‘A good example of this can be found with our recent work with a leading national supermarket chain which was experiencing an issue with its returns packaging for plasma TVs, whereby products were constantly being sent back with minor defects leading to hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage. In response, we investigated the issue and put together a completely bespoke solution for each size of TV, complete with a variety of robust internal protection, which has thus negated the issue.
‘In this way, thinking about return packages in advance can help businesses mitigate damage and save dividends in the long run. Plus, help is at hand via our free smart audit where our experts will review a company’s current packaging materials and procedures and suggest improvements.’