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Key strategies retailers adopt to minimise returns

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Leading omnichannel retailers like Being Human, Lacoste India and Snitch among others shared their approaches to reducing returns and reverse logistics costs at the India Fashion Forum (IFF) 2024

Bengaluru: Returns and the associated reverse logistics costs are burning issues for omnichannel retailers. However, effective management strategies such as liquidation, planning, and incentivisation play pivotal roles in minimising returns and optimising overall performance, according to industry experts speaking on day 2 of India Fashion Forum (IFF) 2024 held at the Hotel Conrad on Thursday.

Speaking about the challenges of reverse logistics, Sanjeev Rao, chief executive officer of Being Human Clothing highlighted that cash on delivery (CoD) orders correlate with a 35% higher likelihood of returns. In response, the company has implemented robust liquidation strategies to promptly address excess inventory, thereby mitigating the risk of returns stemming from obsolete or unsold products.

Abhishek Raj, Chief Operating Officer of Lacoste India, vehemently opposes the concept of CoD. “Within our e-commerce channel, we offer prepaid orders and do not facilitate cash on delivery (CoD) transactions. Additionally, our refund process for returned products typically spans around 21 days. This deliberate approach aims to deter returns by creating a less convenient process for consumers, thereby reducing the tendency for returns,” said Raj.

He also identified two challenges within the reverse logistics process—managing numerous key performance indicators (KPIs) and navigating the complexities associated with handling goods and services tax (GST).

IFF 2024
L-R: Inaayat Guram, Logic ERP; Kalika Mehra, Active Clothing Co.; Nirdosh Chauhan, Agilitas; Siddharth Dungarwal, Snitch; Abhishek Raj, Lacoste India; Akhil Jain, Madame; Debdeep Sinha, Raymond Apparel; Apoorv Sen, Iconic Fashion India; Sanjeev Rao, Being Human Clothing; Manohar D Chatlani, Soch Apparels;

Siddharth Dungarwal, founder of Snitch, mentioned that he successfully decreased returns by offering incentives to consumers who choose to keep their purchased products instead of returning them. Meanwhile, Apoorv Sen, chief operating officer of Iconic Fashion India, stated that incentivising salespersons to drive more sales is equally crucial as incentivising consumers.

“Salespersons and store managers make the inventory move and they know the pulse of consumption more than anyone,” added Sen.

Kalika Mehra, in her capacity as the chief operating officer of Active Clothing Co., outlined strategies aimed at minimising excess inventory from a manufacturing standpoint. She stated that timely product launches, supported by accurate forecasting and meticulous planning, result in swift sales.

“Our global clients exhibit a high level of certainty regarding their needs, thanks to their meticulous planning aided by artificial intelligence (AI). This enables third-party manufacturers to procure the necessary raw materials promptly,” added Mehra.

The leaders were part of a roundtable titled “Let’s Make Fashion Supply Chain Great: From Factory to Retail Shelves,” moderated by Inaayat Guram, Director –Enterprise Innovation, Logic ERP; Akhil Jain, executive director of Madame; Debdeep Sinha, Chief Business Officer, Raymond Apparel, Manohar D Chatlani, managing director of Soch Apparels, and Nirdosh Chauhan, chief technology officer, Agilitas were among the other panellists.

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