By Nick Tabet and Darrell Owen, Datalogic
This is the fifth article in a five-part series about how retailers can use technology to create a top-tier, modern shopping experience. The first four articles can be found here: Part 1: Automate The Retail Supply Chain Using Vision & Imaging Technology, Part 2: Retail Inventory Management Benefits from Vision & Imaging Technology, Part 3: How Vision Technology Enhances The In-Store Experience, and Part 4: How To Avoid And Prevent Retail Shrink With Vision & Imaging Technology.
The increase in online shopping has created a massive challenge for retailers in handling return items. Systems set up to accommodate traditional brick-and-mortar returns are not equipped to efficiently handle the rate of returns associated with online shopping. According to Shopify, brick-and-mortar shoppers return about 9 percent of their purchases, while online shoppers return about 20 percent. During the holidays, the online return rate surges to as high as 50 percent, depending on the industry, exacerbating the challenges.
Ideally, returns would be fully automated – a returned package comes off a delivery truck, flows into the warehouse, is validated, and gets routed to the appropriate location (e.g., back into inventory or to the right wholesaler) without manual handling.