'Tis the season for gift cards and holiday merchandise returns.
For many U.S. consumers, the “holiday” shopping season begins at Thanksgiving and barrels straight on through New Year’s Eve to the end of January.
That can put a lot of pressure on retailers to scale to demand — and Dotcom Distribution in Edison can help, CEO Maria Haggerty said.
“One of the most important and critical components of any e-commerce retail strategy is accurate forecasting,” she said. “Not only does it ensure product availability come holiday shopping time, but also it ensures that available resources from a warehouse inventory perspective are maximized.”
Dotcom Distribution is a strategic logistics partner for both e-commerce and multichannel brands such as Adore Me, Birchbox and Vineyard Vines. It provides not only innovative and cost-effective packaging and delivery options, but also optimizes retail and wholesale relationships for clients through fully integrated electronic management systems.
“We specialize in helping rapidly growing e-commerce brands optimize order fulfillment routines and quickly scale to accommodate season and sale requirements,” Haggerty said. “Dotcom Distribution invests significant resources, especially from a staffing perspective, to ensure that we can support the increase in volume and orders that our clients experience during the holiday season.”
For many of Dotcom Distribution’s clients, that can mean processing as much as 30 times more than average order volume — a valuable asset when faced with the amount of returns each January.
“At least 30 percent of all products ordered online are returned — it is simply the cost of selling online,” Haggerty said. “Just as we increase our fulfillment efforts to deal with peak holiday buying season, these efforts remain just as high to make sure we are able to appropriately support our clients through January after the end of peak returns season.”
The National Retail Federation estimates total merchandise returns at nearly $260.5 billion for retailers in the U.S. Last year, specifically for e-commerce sales, holiday returns accounted for nearly $19 billion dollars, or one-third of total ecommerce sales.
Dotcom Distribution works with its clients to warehouse, pack, ship and manage returns.
“It is imperative to be able to properly sort products by the reason they are returned, specifically whether they are damaged goods or that which can be appropriately restocked back into inventory,” Haggerty said. “We take advantage of advanced technologies and tools that automate returns, which reduces the amount of time it takes to physically scan, restock and process returned items.”
This helps keep costs down and productivity and throughput up.
“When returns are accepted faster, you are able to process funds back to your customers in a quicker fashion,” Haggerty said.
Lastly, Dotcom Distribution meets with its clients after the holiday season to determine what went right, what went wrong and how processes could have been designed differently.
“Then we create an action plan and begin implementing changes as early as January,” Haggerty said.