Gartner Research

Returns — The Ticking Time Bomb of Multichannel Retailing

Published: 17 September 2014

ID: G00267240

Analyst(s): Tom Enright


Multichannel retailers are sitting on a ticking time bomb. Sales growth will increase the volumes of returned product, requiring improved returns management capabilities to be put in place. This research advises heads of supply chains on how to manage this balancing act and make more profit.

Table Of Contents
  • Impacts


Impacts and Recommendations

  • The pursuit of multichannel growth, coupled with historical underinvestment in returns management processes, leaves retailers with returns volumes that adversely impact their route to market supply chain operations
  • The product returns policies offered by many multichannel retailers are one of the main reasons why shoppers abandon their intended online purchases, causing significant lost sales for retailers
  • Most retailers have not sufficiently integrated their reverse logistics supply chain processes with their OTB processes, leading to excess inventory being brought into their businesses

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