According to a new report from CBRE in partnership with Optoro, a provider of return technology and processing services, retailers and the already strained supply chain could be under further stress as e-commerce returns are expected to support high volumes. after the holiday season. retail returns.
E-commerce returns could total up to $ 66.7 billion, the report said, an increase of 45.6% from the five-year average. The forecast is based on data from the National Retail Federation, which estimates online holiday shopping (November and December sales) to total $ 222.3 billion.
And the cost of processing all returns is increasing: A $ 50 item could represent 66% of its average selling price, down from 59% last year, when you factor in customer service, shipping costs. , processing, loss of delivery and liquidation. High-value electronics, such as laptops, tablets and cellphones, will experience the highest reverse logistics costs in terms of total dollar cost per unit, according to Optoro.
“Online Christmas gift returns have always been a big challenge for retailers, but this year will be particularly difficult,” said John Morris, executive general manager and head of industry and logistics for CBRE. “With the growth of e-commerce during the pandemic and the rising costs of a bruised supply chain, reverse logistics will be more difficult and costly than ever for retailers this holiday season.”
Additionally, returns (reverse logistics) require up to 20% more space and manpower capacity than the original order fulfillment process (transfer logistics). This creates additional challenges given that industrial space is already historically tight, with vacancy rates in the United States in the third quarter at an all-time high of 3.6%, according to CBRE.