Shopping online has been embraced in a big way. Actually, “big” might be considered an understatement.
In 2017, U.S. e-commerce retail sales to consumers exceeded $445 billion for the first time. By the end of 2020, e-commerce sales are projected to hit $600 billion— a 12% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). Analysts don’t expect this trend to wane anytime soon; rather, projections show US online retail sales surpassing $1 trillion by 2027 representing 25% of all domestic retail sales.
Yet with all those parcels arriving in the mailbox or on the doorstep of consumers, there are bound to be some returns. After all, unless a shopper is buying an item already seen in person elsewhere, e-commerce purchases are highly dependent on images and text that describes a product—whether generated by the online merchant or reviewers who have experienced it.
This white paper examines how the deployment of affordable, flexible automated storage and retrieval systems can simplify reverse logistics processing. Through the implementation of such a system, returns can be handled as another form of inbound shipping through efficient routing and restocking items to minimize inventory costs, labor requirements and space demands.