Reverse Logistics: How a 3PL Can Help eCommerce Businesses Prepare for the Holiday Returns Season

3 Minutes Read


It’s beginning to look a lot like the holiday return season. While there is always a spike this time of year, eCommerce business owners are bracing for record-setting volume as online sales reign supreme. Your ability to process customer returns is just as vital to your success as your ability to make deliveries. Yet reverse logistics can be challenging, especially if you’re on the receiving end of those returns. That’s where a 3PL comes in to address several common pain points.

Partnering with a 3PL can provide your business with the level of reverse logistics consumers expect in 2022 from fast and accurate returns and exchanges to empathetic customer service. Savvy online retailers use reverse logistics to build customer loyalty, repeat business, and minimize loss related to returns. Here is a guide to safeguarding your holiday season with a 3PL to protect your bottom line.

The importance of reverse logistics during the holiday season

It’s critical to prioritize return shipping all year round, especially during the peak holiday shopping season, to compete with larger eCommerce stores and post-pandemic return of brick-and-mortar. A return experience — good or bad — can make a lasting impact on your customer and their decision to make future purchases. According to Baymard Institute, 11% of consumers will abandon their shopping cart if they think the returns policy is unsatisfactory. The faster and more effectively you set consumer expectations, the sooner they will buy from you again.

On average, 20-30% of all products ordered online are returned. The most extensive period for returns is the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day when they increase by 70% on average per day. For many businesses, adding or refining a reverse logistics plan can feel complex — but there’s an easier way. Engaging with a 3PL, like ShipMyOrders, that offers reverse logistics services will have systems in place to recoup value and ensure repeat customers.





The benefits of partnering with a 3PL for reverse logistics

Processing returns, especially with an uptick in holiday activity, can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. Every return your team must take care of manually can take up to ten touchpoints to resolve, eating up time and making it difficult to achieve speedy resolutions. That’s why it’s essential to have a seamless return and exchange process before the holiday return season. A proactive approach to managing holiday returns can reduce employee and customer anxiety by setting the stage for success ahead of time.

In addition to avoiding bottlenecks and sustaining growth, there are several other benefits to partnering with a 3PL for streamlined returns, exchanges, and restocking processes. A 3PL can:

  • Reduce product return times
  • Have a consistent and predictable system by which to process returns and exchanges
  • Process your product returns by carefully opening and inspecting items by hand
  • Report the product condition
  • Restock, destroy, or return to you (or your manufacturer) the returned items

The benefits of partnering with a 3PL for customer service

One of the biggest mistakes eCommerce business owners make is viewing returns as the end of the customer relationship rather than an opportunity to demonstrate why customers should stay loyal. A seamless return process can spare you from bad reviews, improve customer longevity, and incentivize exchanges. Excellent customer service can also protect your margins, which can quickly evaporate without an easy (and ideally, free) way to make returns.

Partnering with a 3PL for customer service is a surefire way to optimize a holiday return strategy, retain revenue, and loyal customers. The right 3PL can provide your business with friendly, professional customer service that maintains trust as an extension of your brand. A 3PL, like ShipMyOrders, also provides an efficient system to handle any customer questions that arise during the returns or exchange process.

Streamlining your full order fulfillment processes with an end-to-end 3PL partner

Order fulfillment, particularly during the holidays when gifts are on the line, is critical for any eCommerce business. The right partner can seamlessly integrate to improve your holiday operations from top to bottom — keeping customers happy and earning you repeat business. Order fulfillment partners are key for online retailers who are in the growth stage of development, have a lot of orders to process, and want the freedom of having a 3PL to store, pack, and ship their products.

There are several benefits in streamlining the entire order fulfillment process to one 3PL partner storage, picking, packing, shipping, returns, refurbishing, restocking, inventory management, and customer service processes under one roof. With a 3PL partner, you can:

  • Reduce shipping costs
  • Focus on growing your business rather than the distribution process
  • Get rid of the need to manage warehouse employees or physical spaces
  • Become a truly virtual online merchant

Streamlining your order fulfillment processes with a 3PL partner is MUCH easier than you think!

Onboarding with ShipMyOrders is a breeze and requires very little commitment with no long-term contracts or setup fees. We enter a set of rules and guidelines in our system to process order fulfillment, returns, and exchanges as you request for the most customizable, flexible, and scalable 3PL partnership. ShipMyOrders is perfect for small to medium-sized eCommerce businesses that ship:

  • About 500 orders per month/100 orders per week
  • Under 20 SKUs
  • Under 50 lbs
  • Under 20 x 20 box cubed
  • Under $200 manufacture cost (in terms of value)
  • Things that don’t break and nothing hazardous

Engage ShipMyOrders for the most lucrative time of the year!

It’s not too late to streamline your business’s shipping and return management process for the holiday rush. From retaining happy customers to taking stress off your plate, running a profitable online store requires a solid partner for handling reverse logistics. Get a quote TODAY, ahead of the busy holiday season, to keep your company on Santa’s “nice” list.


Picture of Dan R.

Dan R.