With all eyes being on the potential order volume that retailers will receive over the upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping weekend, a UK materials handling equipment firm is issuing a reminder to also ensure that facilities are prepped to handle increased returns during the period. Midland Pallet Trucks, who supply equipment such as hand pallet trucks, manual stacker trucks and aerial work platforms says that effective returns handling is key at this time of year.
Order volumes are expected to rise significantly over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping weekend, with levels anticipated to remain high through December and into the post-holiday sales period. In turn, increased returns are expected. Research by software firm ReBOUND Returns predicts that returns between Black Friday and Christmas will cost UK retailers £2.4 billion, with around £362 million, or 15%, of that total coming from returns over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend.
While return rates do vary by sector, courier network CollectPlus estimates that between 5 and 10% of all consumer electronics products will be returned this year, and around half of all womenswear ordered will be returned to retailers for refunds.
Midland Pallet Trucks Managing Director Phil Chesworth says, “It’s not just about getting items out the door as the orders flood in, it’s also about being prepared to handle returns efficiently to maintain high levels of customer service at this busy time of year. When there’s deals on the table, shoppers often buy in haste, only later considering whether they actually need or actually want the item they’ve bought.
“One of the biggest problems that we see at this time of year is that while warehouses are prepared to receive large quantities of items from suppliers, which are bar coded and palletted, they are not quite as prepared to handle large volumes of consumer-returned products in individual packets. With Black Friday just around the corner, there is an urgent need for warehouses to ensure they have the equipment they need to manage and process returns quickly and easily. This is vital to maintaining good customer relationships and not alienating shoppers at this crucial time of the year”.
According to Royal Mail, which handles a significant portion of returns made over the Black Friday shopping weekend, more than half of customers making purchases online will not return to the same retailer after a poor returns experience.
The reminder by Midland Pallet Trucks comes following the 2018 record-breaking Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping weekend, when Cyber Monday became the biggest shopping day recorded in history with 19.7% growth from 2017. While less was spent on Black Friday, an impressive 28% year-on-year growth was still noted.