Reverse logistics in e-retailing can help to contain e-waste
BUSINESS ECONOMICS|August 16-31, 2019

Disruptive digital forces that include the internet of things (IoT), robotic process automation (RPA), cloud computing and analytics have affected e-commerce businesses at large.

Rajiv Khosla

While the e-commerce industry is actively engaged in trimming the channels to make the goods available to the consumers at earliest, hasty purchases by consumers may lead to the selection of a wrong product. Such products are often returned to the producers. Therefore, modern day e-commerce companies along with the ‘buy anywhere’ mantra are equally concerned about ‘return anywhere’ concept, as poor service with respect to the return of goods may lead to the loss of customers. This arrangement of flow of goods back from customers to the company is termed as’ reverse logistics’. Advocates of strong ‘reverse logistics’ state that five R’s cover all aspects of reverse logistics. These 5 R’s comprises are

Returns and Exchanges: Here the customers start returning the products due to reasons like damaged/defective products or the product failing to meet expectations.Estimates state that in developed countries, 47% of high-tech shoppers have returned or exchanged an item purchased online.

Recalls: When a sold product encounters a defector potential hazard, it calls for a system and processes in place to receive, replace, reclaim or resell that product.

Repairs: Companies generally prefer to repair and return the product rather than replace it, owing to inventory costs. In case the faults in the returned products are too severe, then the manufacturers refurbish or remanufacture the products to a condition that is more like new. Reusing materials from returned products is becoming a common practice today.

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