Rising to the reverse challenges of homeware and large electronic goods

Furniture, homeware and large electronic goods are some of the fastest growing verticals of online retail, yet some of the slowest product categories to have made the shift online over the last decade or so. The logistical challenges yielded by this type of product made it initially too expensive and too slow for the online shopper. The cultural shift has now fully taken place and online sales of ‘large and bulky’ products (generally categorized as weighing over 30 kilos) are booming.

«The biggest hurdle for retailers selling homeware and large electronics online is undoubtably the challenge of customer returns»

Returning an ill-fitting t-shirt or an impulse buy pair of shoes may at worst need a trip to the post office or a local convenience store, but getting over the psychological barrier of potentially returning a three seat sofa (delivered in-room to a fifth floor apartment, of course) requires a totally difference approach.

What happens if the product is broken in transit? What if the customer wants to exchange their item? A bad returns experience not only means potential profit loss for the retailer, but the tragic repercussions of unmet customer expectations can be highly damaging to the brand.

One of the biggest challenges for retailers is the loss of product value during the returns process and ultimately that of maintaining a reasonable return-to-stock rate. If home collections are carried out with unsuitable packaging, products are mishandled during transport or products insufficiently re-estimated by brokers and resellers, precious profit can easily be lost in the process and products rendered unsellable. The blame for damaged items may be shifted between customer, courier and retailer, but ultimately the retailer takes the brunt by losing both profit and customer satisfaction.




Main challenges for heavy and bulky products merchants

So ok, the customer purchased a super-size American style fridge and icemaker, that won’t actually fit in his kitchen. Mistakes happen. Maybe the measurements weren’t detailed clearly enough in the product description, or maybe he just got it wrong. Either way, you have invested in acquiring this customer and you want him to come back again (ideally without returning his purchase next time).

On the customer side, experience and visibility are the key to success. If you get these aspects right, you are sure to increase engagement, and repeat purchases. If the experience is straightforward, the visibility good and the refund carried out as quickly as possible, your customer will come back.

How can retailers engage users with a smooth and seamless experience that they will happily repeat?

Let’s illustrate through the Cdiscount case study

Shoprunback has partnered with leading marketplace Cdiscount to provide a solution that gives customers the freedom to request, organize and plan the return of their TV, fridge or any other large and bulky homeware or large electronics product. 

With a range of options that give the customer the possibility to return their item, or indeed keep it in exchange for a voucher, the customer organizes their return with a user-friendly interface and then arranges a collection on a date and time-slot that suits them.

The delivery person checks the condition of the products using the Shoprunback app, and takes photos to register the condition of the item and improve the quality of the information to decide upon its final location – return to stock or a second life on an alternative market.

ShopRunBack delivery/warehouse app

At-home qualification and control

Qualified handling

Whether through a self-care solution like Shoprunback or through a customer service pre-qualification, giving your customer an easy, user friendly returns experience with as much visibility as possible, you can not only overcome the psychological barrier of purchasing (and potentially returning) a large or bulky item, but also significantly reduce the potential loss of margin during the reverse process.

« The true cost of returns : it is not about the logistic cost, but the cost of losing an unhappy customer » Emmanuel Kowalski COO of ShopRunBack

Do you want to know more on how ShopRunBack can help you increase visibility and customer engagement ? Click here!

Struggling with your heavy and bulky products return management ? Drop us a your contact and our team will come back to you ! 

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