Holiday Gift Returns


John Paul Hampstead, a writer at Freight Waves, recently published an article about returns after the holidays. Here are the main takeaways from his article.  Click the link at the bottom of this article to view his original work.

After the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we have a lot of leftovers: food, cheer, and those gifts we received that don’t fit, we don’t have a place for, and we want to return them.  Hampstead’s article tells us that “American consumers will return about $90B worth of unwanted gifts” shortly after the end of the holiday season. The month of January alone accounts for a little over half of all of the product returns that consumers make throughout the entire year.   

Since we have become accustomed to ordering almost everything online with a few mouse clicks, we also have begun to expect an expedited, and inexpensive, return process.  Businesses who offer this are in a much better position to keep and grow their clientele base. Their profits will grow if they offer great customer service and easy return processes.  Many stores allow for in-store returns, which costs less for the business than having them returned through the mail. Mail-returned products run the risk of becoming damaged, or even lost.

There are even teams of item inspectors whose sole job is to decide what to do with the returned items.  They decide if the product can be resold, if it needs to be sent somewhere else, or if they have to send it to a landfill, where “about 5 billion pounds of returns will end up” going.  Along with the returns by mail increasing, so does the need for people on the ground to transport the products.

While businesses and major corporations are working to improve their return processes, it is not all smooth sailing yet.  What we do know is that companies with a better handle on the return process will most likely see themselves flourish in the new year.  Read the full article by clicking the link: