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Buy Online, Return in Store Workshop - April 2nd

Buy Online, Return in Store Workshop - April 2nd

A retailer only one-day workshop

Learn • Engage • Contribute • Challenge
Goodenough College, London, Tuesday April 2nd 2019



The recently published ‘Buy Online Return in Store’ research looked at the challenges and opportunities of product returns in a multichannel environment.  Highlighting challenges from customer behaviour, systems integration and increasing losses, the research also pointed to opportunities for retailers to significantly enhance management of returns and reap financial benefits from online sales.  The ECR report on ‘Buy Online, Return in Store’ presented three approaches to achieve these benefits:

  • A cost of returns model to give decision-makers the ability to carry out ‘what-if’scenarios to understand the impact of returns on net margins.
  • An outline for lean management thinking in returns that focuses on the types of initiatives that would make the returns process more efficient, effective and more profitable.
  • A visualisation of the circular economy for retail that provides a model for understanding where businesses can minimise their environmental impact and maximise the social impact of their activities.

 Aims and Objectives

Using facilitated round table discussions, this workshop will provide attendees with an opportunity to consider in detail the findings from the report and their implications for business. In particular, the workshop will incorporate an interactive exercise that applies the tools to build a case for better management of returns to achieve financial and operational benefits for the whole organisation. By the end of the workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Better understand the true cost of returns to an organisation
  • Identify opportunities for making the returns system leaner and lower cost
  • Identify opportunities for minimising environmental impacts and increasing social impact of their activities.
  • Further understand shopper behaviour and the relevance of returns in an online environment
  • Develop communications that reduce the rate of returns without loss of customer satisfaction.

Anticipated Audience

This workshop will be of significant interest to those retailers handling a high volume of returns through their bricks and mortar estate. Specifically those in retail organisations with responsibility for the design and execution of the returns policies and procedures, as well as those concerned with the risks of theft and fraud associated with the handling of returns. Organisations are highly encouraged to send multiple representatives to the workshop, from functions such as customer service, stores, supply chain, loss prevention as well as their own “tsar of returns (if appointed) also known as the single owner at any given retail organisation who oversees all aspects of returns, and recognised internally as the company “go to” individual on returns.


09.30    Registration and Coffee

10.00    Introductions and Workshop Expectations - Colin Peacock

10.15    Session 1: Understanding the Online Customer – Dr Jason Sit

In this session, Jason will share the latest research insights on the shopper view of returns.

10.35    The Case for Returns Part 1: an interactive exercise -  Professor Lisa Jack

Scenario: Your CEO has become increasingly concerned that returns from online shopping are consuming more resources and time than imagined. Across the organisation, teams have been tasked with improving the bottom line of the business, reducing systems complexity and increasing environmental sustainability. Can you make the case for returns to achieve all these targets for the organisation?

A review has been carried out and you are presented with the findings at short notice – can you come up with a plan before the next meeting? In part 1, teams assess the findings and come up with a plan of action.             For this session you will need a device with Excel installed. Resources will be available for uploading on the day.

11.30    The Case for Returns Part 2: an interactive exercise

Teams will use the interactive spreadsheet to test out their ideas and outline a costed business case for returns.

12.00    Lunch

12.45    The Case for Returns Part 3: Feedback

Teams give feedback on their best strategies and tactics for enhancing the bottom line, reducing complexity and being more environmentally friendly from this morning’s exercise.

13.00    The Case for Returns Part 4: Process mapping to achieve lean management and circular economy wins: another interactive exercise. Dr Regina Frei and Professor Lisa Jack

Building on pointers, teams will be engaged in mapping their own processes and looking for ways to achieve gains through sustainable initiatives and reductions in complexity and waste that provide wins for customers and retailers together.

14.30    Coffee

14.45    Retailer Case

In this session, a case study retailer will share how they have organised to manage returns, and the tools, techniques and ways of working they have adopted to deliver a more sustainable and lower cost of returns

15.45    Expectations and Next Steps -   Colin Peacock

16.00    Close

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