How I discovered the Right Size solution for returns management

I joined Ribble Packaging in April 2021 as a Business Development Manager with a primary objective to sell Panotec automated box making machines and Fanfold corrugated board.

The moment I investigated the type of machinery I would be offering, I was sold. A machine, that produces the perfect size box, within a matter of seconds, on site, on demand? Where can I buy one of these for my garage?! I could instantly see the benefit and asked myself ‘why have I never heard of this before, its genius!’

After my induction and training, I was allocated a handful of accounts to manage, including a number of high-profile retailers. I was surprised, shocked, and intrigued when I heard some used their Panotec box maker solely to package returned product, ready for re-sale. My mind started to wander. I visited one of their sites to see their operation firsthand and was very impressed. They use the Panotec bar code scanning system. This means they input the dimensions and sizes of the box they require and marry that up with the product bar code. They now have a database of hundreds of products which, with the scan of a bar code, can replicate the same box style almost immediately.

This got me thinking, what normally happens to these returns? Well, after a small amount of research, the options became very clear. Either: order new packaging, send back to be re-boxed, send to landfill or palletize with other products and sell on to someone who will try and a make a pound or two (often making a YouTube video titled: I bought this pallet full of returns & made £££££) either way, companies are loosing a vast amount money.

Ribble also work with a manufacturer who also use their machine solely for returns. This company have saved over £250,000 in their first few months of using their Panotec machine.

Now, when I speak with prospective clients, returns are always something I’ll discuss. Not only can Right Size revolutionize the way you handle returns, it also:

  • Reduces your annual corrugated spend (generally by 20-30%).
  • Eliminates the need to stockpile boxes which are the wrong size for your product.
  • Improves vehicle utilization by up to 25%.
  • Saves huge labour costs.
  • Hugely reduces the requirement for void fillers and other plastic packaging
  • Creates an environmentally sustainable packaging process.

Often, the return on investment for one of our machines is only a couple of years. Ribble will work with you to optimize the way you package. We can also offer several payment options to suit your businesses individual requirements.

For the company I mentioned earlier, they have generated an additional £250,000 in only a couple of months. This means their machine has paid for itself twice over, they have reduced the amount of product going to landfill and taken full control over their packaging.

Does this all sound too good to be true?!?!  Well, I can assure you it’s not, and that’s the exact reason I took the job back in April. Ribble are a hugely credible company, with oodles of experience and a history of manufacturing cardboard since 1938. I am now pleased to be a part of their heritage.

The packaging process that is over 99% plastic free

Internet Fusion Group, a leading lifestyle e-commerce retailer with brands such as Surfdome and Country Attire, have created a sustainable packaging process that is over 99% plastic free. Investments in two Quadient CVP-500 automated packaging machines and switching to Corrugated Fanfold material from Ribble Packaging, have aided with their pursuit of an environmentally sustainable right size packaging process.

To highlight the full extent of their achievements, Internet Fusion have released a report investigating the environmental effects of paper-based packaging versus plastic packaging products. The report explores the full manufacturing process of both paper and plastic packaging, through to the recyclability and long-term environmental effects once a package has reached its destination. Head of Sustainability at Internet Fusion Adam Hall said” Our customers are tired of plastic pollution, and we are tired of the justifications being put forward for continued plastic production in the middle of a marine plastic crisis. When you dig a little deeper these arguments simply don’t stack up, so we felt it was time to share the decision-making process that has led us to our packaging being over 99% plastic free. Our customers choose us because of our environmental efforts and in turn we choose Ribble for the same reasons – it’s partnerships such as these that can shift a whole industry towards a more sustainable future”.

Right Size packaging specialists Ribble Packaging supply Internet Fusion with over 75% of their packaging material in the form of Corrugated Fanfold board, a versatile fully recycled and recyclable cardboard product that feeds many of the leading automated packaging systems in the UK.

Stephen Rector, Managing Director of Ribble Packaging, commented on Internet Fusion’s success: “It is fantastic to see that Ribble products are helping our customers in creating more environmentally sustainable packaging processes. We also see the need to improve our in-house operations to make them more sustainable.”

Earlier this year, Ribble embarked on a project to make their operations carbon neutral. “We understand the need to focus on the effects our manufacturing process has on the environment, this has led to us embarking on a carbon neutral project that will see us embrace new sustainable technologies and practices. Our products allow customers to create a more sustainable packaging process, but we can enhance these benefits by offering a carbon neutral manufacturing process as well.”

Top 10 benefits of switching to Right Size Packaging in 2021

Want to find a way to keep your customers happy this year, well it’s time to look at how you can be more sustainable…

Firstly, why do small things come in such big packages in the first place? Protection! As noted by many eCommerce companies, retailers over the years have chosen to package items with unfavourable amount of padding and air to prevent items from getting damaged in transit. But this is no longer an issue thanks to smarter packaging options that meet the needs of the growing number of environmentally conscious customers.

With Right Sized Packaging, you can benefit from:

  1. Improved Packaging Protection

Rest assured each product/item is snug and secure, reducing any chance of breakages during delivery and increasing customer satisfaction.

  1. A perfect size box for all your orders

Over the years, more and more people are conscious about their decisions that affect the environment and climate change, i.e. waste. Keep your customers happy by reminding them you are conscious too.

  1. Reduction in packaging costs

Packaging can be costly but utilising the right sized packaging for your products, means you only use the amount you need. Keeping the cost of materials down as you won’t need to order as much!

  1. Reduction in vehicle utilisation

With smaller packaging boxes, you’ll be able to fit so much more on your delivery vans when transporting your product to the end-user. Reducing journeys and cutting cost, not to mention lowering your carbon emissions!

  1. Elimination of plastic packaging

Plastic packaging can take hundreds of years, if not thousands to biodegrade! Switching to a cardboard packaging material saves landfill sites from being overloaded with waste packaging.

  1. Less labour intensive

With a quicker packaging process, Ribble Right Size saves time and cuts down the process, keeping pressure off your warehouse staff.

  1. Reduced admin

With fewer materials used, you won’t need to order as much. Plus you only have to order 1 product (Fanfold) from 1 supplier, rather than multiple sizes and styles of boxes.

  1. Eliminating all void fill packaging

Making you more efficient and improving profit margin as you’ll be using less packaging.

  1. More Warehouse Space

More room for those great products of yours and less floor space wasted on excessive packaging!

  1. Flexibility to make the right box on demand

No more worry about whether you have the right size box or the right style, Ribble Right Size is fully flexible, so you’re covered for everything.


Interested to hear more about Right Size Packaging? Get in touch and we’d be more than happy to talk you through the process of switching and getting you on board to be more sustainable in 2021.

How you can save 25% on your packaging; Guaranteed.

With Christmas just around the corner, the increase of online shopping is likely to go through the roof round about now. As each parcel is delivered, you can expect that customers will get an immediate opinion on the brand and how they value sustainability.

10-15 years ago, people would have probably not given a second thought to an overly wrapped parcel or excessively large packaging box, but now researchers at The Chartered Institute of Marketing have found 88% of shoppers think their items come with excessive wrapping, with children’s toys, mobile phones and cosmetics most likely to come in over-elaborate packaging. It was also found that “8 in 10 would like to see more done by large companies to promote sustainable packaging”.

When companies consider the switch to Right Size packaging, they’re likely already sold on the fact that they know they’ll save on the packaging costs, as there’s so much less packaging to buy in the first place. Along with the obvious advantages that come with having similar values to their consumers; brand loyalty, trust and desire to support positive environmental policies. Often, they don’t even realise all the additional savings they can benefit from…

Think about it, with less packaging you’ll need fewer vehicles on the road as you won’t be taking up as much space in the back of your delivery vans. As well as being kinder to the environment by reducing carbon emissions, you’ll be saving money as well, fewer vehicles, fewer drivers, therefore lower labour costs for your business.

According to The Road Transport Industry report in 2019, “78% of goods are moved by road”, and transportation costs can be a huge part of a company’s overall logistics spending. If it’s possible to reduce this through Right Size packaging, its arguably one of the most beneficial solutions a company can implement due to the ever-rising fuel costs and the impact this can then have on the price of goods to the end-user.

Recently, it’s been estimated that returns can cost retailers up to £20 billion every year, but with Right Size packaging, sales aren’t limited by MOQs (Minimum Order Quantities), and Return Management is improved as the product is less likely to arrive damaged therefore fewer refunds or exchanges. To ensure your business saves money and even profits from logistical changes, bespoke Right Size packaging is essential.

With no additional cost for void fillers and less waste disposal, Right Size packaging is a no brainer for companies that want to adapt and futureproof their business. Get in touch to find out more and we can arrange a quick 15-minute virtual demo. Visit for more information.

Which Retail Brands Are Taking Sustainability Seriously?

Over the last few years,  consumers are increasingly looking for sustainable retail brands.

In 2017, for example, research site found 55% of people in the UK felt the sustainability of clothing was important while – in the same year – a survey by Unilever found 33% of consumers were choosing brands they believed were socially or environmentally conscious.

These results reflected Unilever’s own performance data, which found their most successful brands were those integrating sustainability into their purpose and products, accounting for almost half the company’s global growth in 2015.  Given these figures, it’s probably no surprise that Unilever believes sustainability isn’t just a ‘nice-to-have’, but an ‘imperative’.

Five Retail Brands Taking Sustainability Seriously

Unilever aren’t the only company who believe in the importance of sustainability.

In the UK, well-known retailers are becoming well known for their commitment to producing and selling sustainable products, including:

  • IKEA

IKEA ensures everything it does has sustainability at its heart, operationally, in its supply chain (50% of the wood it uses comes from sustainable forests and 100% of its cotton from farmers working to Better Cotton Standards) and its use of natural resources (it will be a net energy exporter by 2020 thanks to the 700,000+ solar panels it has powering its stores).

By 2030, IKEA wants to be ‘planet positive’ and are looking at environmentally friendly initiatives such as selling solar panels in their stores, renting furniture or buying it back when it’s no longer wanted, and selling food made from insects.

  • Body Shop

The Body Shop has long been known for doing good (it provided the start-up capital for The Big Issue, for example, and its products have never been tested on animals) but it stepped up this commitment in 2016 with its Enrich Not Exploit pledge to protect the planet and its people. This is a plan to create a positive work environment for its employees, support the development of thriving communities wherever it sources products and to develop these products in such a way as to have no negative environmental impact by 2020.

  • H&M

The fashion industry has long struggled with how to make itself sustainable in a world where a large percentage of customers want to wear clothes that are fashionable but also affordable.  In recent years, there’s been a growth in high-end sustainable brands, but the high street has been slow to catch up. One of the first to look at how they can become more sustainable was H&M, which started a clothing collection scheme in 2013 and now produces ethical collections, including ones made from recycled materials including fishing nets and previously used nylon.

  • Sainsbury’s

As a leading UK supermarket chain, Sainsbury’s has focused on sustainability at home, with their commitment to paying staff a fair wage, and abroad, supporting clean water campaigns and sourcing products ethically across its supply chain.  Their commitment is outlined in a set of values that include living healthier lives, sourcing with integrity, respecting the environment, positively impacting the community and creating a great place to work.  Last year, they signed the UK Plastics Pact to help tackle plastic waste: by 2025, 100% of their plastic packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable.

  • Marks and Spencer

One of the oldest retailers on the high street, Marks and Spencer was also one of the first to put their commitment to sustainability in writing with Plan A in 2007.  Plan A sought to address issues of social inequality, the need for healthier lifestyles and the increasing pressures on natural resources.  As a result, by 2012, all Marks and Spencer sites and their delivery fleet were carbon neutral. Last year, Marks and Spencer released their latest Plan A which includes a commitment to be a zero-waste company by 2025 and that at least 80% of the raw materials they use will be from sustainable sources.

The Future of Sustainability

Across the UK, companies from all sectors are being recognised for their commitment to protecting the environment and supporting fair working practices, for their employees and across their supply chains.

As more consumers become interested in where the products they buy come from and what companies are doing to protect their staff, this list is likely to grow because, as Unilever pointed out, no business that wants to succeed can afford to not make itself more sustainable in today’s highly competitive market.

How Is Smart Packaging Changing The Packaging Industry?

In the packaging industry, smart packaging is the hot new trend.

Comprising of both active packaging and intelligent packaging, smart packaging is more than a passing fad. With the adoption of smart packaging across all industries, it may just change the packaging industry entirely.

At the moment, the smart packaging industry takes less than 10% of the packaging industry.

The industry is expected to reach $40 billion by 2020.

However, the overall packaging market is valued between $400 and $500 billion. That said, smart packaging is one of the fastest growing sectors in the packaging industry.

It may be fruitful for companies to adopt smart packaging sooner in order to get ahead of the curve.

With this in mind, is it time your business started incorporating new packaging methods into your organisation?

What Is Smart Packaging?

Smart packaging describes packaging that enhances its own functionality. It may use a range of specialist materials or technology in order to either improve the packaging, doing more for its contents or communicate a message.

An example of smart packaging would be in the food industry where packaging can sense the temperature, time and ripeness of products and the environment to help retain the microbiological quality of the contents. This can help to reduce wastage and ensure the safety of the contents.

Packaging can then even add the barriers, absorbers and necessary controllers to extend the life of products and protect its contents as best as it can.

Another aspect of smart packaging is intelligent packaging which works to sense changes in the environment which could be a risk to the contents. For example, the intelligent packaging could have anti-counterfeit measures, monitor microorganism growth within the packaging.

Intelligent packaging can also display marketing and branding messages as well and control and manage the supply chain.

What Does Smart Packaging Consist Of?

There are four key elements of smart packaging, which include;

Protection – Materials, technology and methods of extending the protection methods of the packaging. For example, this could be thermal layering to keep contents cooler for longer.

Communication – The packaging’s ability to communicate a message. This could be a marketing or branding message or a warning that contents is above its required temperature or passed its expiry date.

Containment – Minimising waste while adequately containing the contents so that the contents are fit for purpose when removed from the packaging.

Convenience – Packaging must consider both the ease of the production line and convenience of the customer. It should be easy for customers to get rid of the packaging (such as through recycling) but also be easy to create to reduce cost and time on the packaging line.

What Are The Benefits Of Smart Packaging?


  • Increase the shelf life


In the food industry and the medical industry, it is essential to reduce spoilage and wastage. Smart packaging can help to extend the shelf life of products. In fact, even if there was just an increase of one day for the shelf life, the cost savings could be significant for many companies.


  • Branding


For brands that suffer from counterfeiting, it can help to verify the goods and the brand and prevent items from losing value due to the black market. There can be measures in place to ensure the authenticity of the product.


  • Safety


For companies transporting hazardous goods, then it is essential to have adequate packaging to protect the contents. Packaging can increase the safety measures in the logistic process. As accidents and poor packaging can ruin the reputation of a business, safety through packaging becomes essential.


  • Cost saving


Smart packaging can offer a number of savings, from extending shelf life, as mentioned above, to creating reusable packaging that can be reused and repurposed to reduce the cost of packaging production.

At the moment, some brands may struggle to realise the cost savings straightaway.

This is because smart packaging is still new and requires substantial investment to develop the products. However, for many companies, it is well worth conducting a cost-benefit analysis to see if the investment into smart packaging can save money or be good for business by meeting customer demands.

What about sustainability?

The main barrier to the use of smart packaging is the fact that demand requires packaging to be as sustainable as possible.

10 UK Companies Ditching Plastic From Their Packaging

In recent months, the plastic crisis has gained some well-needed traction and more and more companies, and individuals are beginning to understand the importance of ditching plastic for more sustainable materials.

BBC’s Blue Planet has a lot to answer for, with the recent shift in attitude, as it provided the nation with shocking evidence of the damage that plastic has on the environment and the creatures that inhabit it.

With plastic making up 85% of beach litter across the globe, and Britons using 7.7 billion single-use plastic bottles every year, it is no surprise that it is causing havoc on planet earth.

If individuals and brands don’t start ditching plastic soon, then there will be more plastic in the ocean, by weight, than there are fish by 2050.

Here we look at 10 UK companies that are already ditching plastic from their packaging:

10 Companies Ditching Plastic

  • McDonald’s

One of the biggest fast-food chains not just in the UK but in the world, McDonald’s started making tracks to ditching plastic packaging in May this year when they switched to paper straws. As well as making their straws 100% recyclable they have also made the change that customers must request straws instead of giving them out to everyone with their orders, resulting in a considerable drop in consumption.

  • Aldi

The much-loved discount supermarket is making significant changes to their packaging in the UK in their bid for ditching the plastic and becoming more environmentally friendly. They are in the process of introducing recyclable trays for selected fresh produce, which is estimated to save 265 tonnes of packaging in just one year. In addition to ditching plastic, Aldi is also trying to use more recycled plastic in their packaging that can’t be abolished altogether.

  • Iceland

Another supermarket favourite, Iceland has committed to ditching plastic completely within the next five years. The retailer will be replacing plastic packaging with paper and pulp alternatives, which will be 100% recyclable and can be recycled through domestic waste collections as well as in-store recycling facilities.

  • Nestle Waters UK

Bottled water and soft drink manufacturer, Nestle Waters UK, has teamed up with many other brands in the industry including Lucozade Ribena Suntory and Harrogate Water Brands to eliminate plastic packaging waste. They have produced a report alongside the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) revealing a roadmap to ditching plastic by 2025.

  • Pizza Express

Thanks to 5-year-old pizza lover Ava, Pizza Express is also ditching plastic straws in a bid to help animal welfare and the environment. The young girl wrote a letter to the chain explaining her concerns about using plastic straws as ‘they are very bad for animals’, encouraging the restaurant brand to switch to a paper alternative.

  • Marks & Spencer

The clothing and food brand recently joined over 40 other companies in signing a pledge agreeing to ditch the plastic and cut plastic pollution in the next seven years. They will make changes such as ditching plastic packaging that is deemed unnecessary such as for packs of fresh fruit and vegetables.

The UK Plastics Pact covers roughly 80% of all plastic packaging on Britain’s supermarket shelves and includes initiatives such as allowing consumers to bring their own containers to supermarket meat counters.


Ditching Plastic download


  • Costa

As well as ditching plastic straws for biodegradable alternatives, coffee giant Costa has stated that they intend to review their takeaway coffee cups to find a more environmentally friendly solution. 2.5 billion disposable cups are thrown away every year in the UK, and just 1% of these are currently recycled, so any reduction in this area would be a great help to the environment.

  • Pret a Manger

The global sandwich and coffee franchise has been making big changes to help reduce their plastic footprint in recent months. As well as ditching plastic straws for paper alternatives, they also offer customers a 50p discount in the UK if they bring their own reusable coffee cup in a bid to reduce consumption of takeaway cups.

  • Bacardi

Bacardi created their award-winning ‘Good Spirited’ campaign which was designed to reduce the company’s environmental impact in sourcing, packaging and operations. They began by ditching plastic straws in the UK back in 2016, making them one of the first big brands to jump on the banning plastic straws bandwagon.

  • Hilton

The hotel giant has a significant presence in the UK and has committed to removing over 5 million plastic straws and 20 million plastic water bottles every year across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, a move that will cut Hilton’s global environmental impact in half by 2030.

Six Reasons For Using Cardboard Product Packaging

For businesses who have Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) high on their agenda, it is time to evaluate every process to help find more eco-friendly methods.

However, maintaining strict budget requirements and being greener can be difficult. Fortunately, cardboard product packaging can help you to offer a more environmentally friendly solution with a whole host of benefits.

Say goodbye to plastic and hello to cardboard product packaging with six reasons why you should be using cardboard for your product packaging.

Six reasons to use cardboard product packaging

  • The war on plastic

As e-commerce grew, so did the use of plastic. Plastic is a cheap and versatile product packaging, but it is also wreaking havoc on the environment. Plastic packaging adds to our single-use throwaway culture. In fact, 50% of the plastic we use is single use. Furthermore, we throw away enough plastic every year to circle the earth four times.

Plastic is not just causing significant problems for the environment; it is also found that plastic chemicals are being absorbed by the body, which could pose severe health risks. It is no surprise with all the terrifying statistics about packaging that consumers are becoming more aware of the consequences of plastic.

Many consumers will actively seek out brands that do not use single-use plastic or plastic at all. By making the change from plastic to cardboard, you will not only be helping the environment by choosing a recyclable, degradable form of packaging, but your customers will be happier too.

Furthermore, recycled cardboard is a growing trend. Experts predict that recycled cardboard will be the next in-demand product for most packaging needs due to its versatility and eco-friendly nature. Added to this is the fact that many countries are now taxing plastic products and we may soon find a ban on plastic packaging as a whole.

  • Flexibility and versatility

With cardboard product packaging you have a blank canvas to create innovative packaging designs to fit and shapes and sizes necessary. Custom cardboard packaging is easy to acquire, and there are now machines that will automate your packaging needs by creating the right size boxes to fit the products you need. Automated cardboard packaging machinery is a significant help for businesses who ship a wide variety of products of all shapes and sizes.

The versatility of cardboard means you have the chance to be as inventive or as ordinary as you like. Boxes can be made to fit all sizes and shapes. However, you can think outside of the box and design cardboard packaging that is bespoke for your product too. If you are worried that your product won’t stand out among a sea of cardboard boxes, create a shape that is distinctive and even more practical.

  • Cost

When considering packaging for your products, it requires a careful cost analysis. You need packaging that is safe enough to reduce the number of damages and return but is also cost-effective enough to improve your bottom line. The right packaging is critical for your balance sheet. Spend too much, and your profit will suffer. Spend too little, and you may receive bad feedback for damaged items.

In many cases, recycled cardboard will cost less than plastic packaging. Furthermore, as cardboard is lightweight and you can alter the size to suit your product, you can save money on shipping too. If you have the space available, then recycled cardboard is easy to store and buying in bulk will usually ensure a cheaper rate also.

As well as this, there will be a low cost of damaged returns and cardboard is a safe and durable packaging material, designed to keep your products safe and damage-free.

  • Customer ease

Cardboard product packaging should be designed with the customer in mind. It needs to be easy for the customer to carry and handle while also being convenient, easy to use and mean little hassle for disposal. As cardboard is a very light material, it makes it easy to transport. This is ideal for saving money on logistics bit also handy for your customers too.

With cardboard, it is easy to add manual handling aids such as handles of holes. Your product packaging should be designed for customers to make it easy for them to pick it up. After all, they are more likely to purchase if it makes life easier for them. It is worth bearing in mind that if you offer a carrying mechanism, make sure it is robust and durable enough for the weight of the product. Flimsy plastic carrier bags frustrate customers when they break, make sure your product stays secure, and your packaging remains easy to hold.

Finally, after the customer has opened their packaging, disposal needs to be as easy as possible. Fortunately, recycled cardboard can be recycled with ease. If your cardboard packaging is large, it may be worth having some fold lines or perforated edges to help the customer fold and dispose of the packaging with minimal effort.

  • Branding

One of the most significant benefits of cardboard packaging is its ability for branding.

You can easily print and coat cardboard for branding needs, without limiting its recycling ability. Printing on cardboard is easy and cheap to do making it easy for your product and product packaging to stand out and get noticed.

As cardboard packaging technology has progressed, combined with computer-aided design technology, it is now easy to get your perfectly branding packaging through an automated system. This means that personalised branded cardboard is now much more affordable and accessible for businesses of every size.

While designing your branding for cardboard, it is important to be unique and stand out from your competitors, but it is also essential to think about the environment. There is no point using cardboard as an eco-friendly alternative if your additional branding or plastic coating renders it unable to be recycled. With environmental-conscious customers, you will need to think carefully about how to produce the most eco-friendly packaging that still delivers your brand message.

  • Reuse

Cardboard is an excellent material for product packaging because of its reuse-ability. A strong and sturdy box will no doubt come in handy for storage or transportation at a later date. You can also offer your customers ideas on how to reuse their cardboard packaging to make the most out of it before recycling.

Reuse ideas could include a magazine box or paper file store. With a linen liner, a generic cardboard box can be transformed into a laundry basket, stylish storage box or the ideal play box for children, especially if they have a hand in designing it and decorating it themselves. Cardboard can even be repurposed as a shelf (albeit not for heavy items) or an organiser for messy desks.

Other reuse ideas include a desk organiser, complete with drawers and multiple sections for the most creative reusers. Some may choose to reuse their cardboard box by creating a vanity unit or cosmetic tidy.  With lots of cardboard, the possibilities of repurposing are endless. For more robust pieces you simply need to add more layers of cardboard while thinner cardboard is ideal for flexible shapes.

Some brands even offer their cardboard packaging as seed trays as they compose in the ground. When you think about how to repurpose your cardboard packaging, think of your target audience and what they are most likely to benefit from after the packaging use is over. It can also be an excellent way to encourage social media engagement too.

Three Benefits Of Reverse Logistics

Regardless of the service, returns for any business are a pain and an inconvenience. Unfortunately, in every retail sector returning goods is inevitable; whether it is an unwanted gift, broken product or a garment that doesn’t fit.

It is estimated that returns cost UK retailers £60bn a year, £20bn of which is generated by items bought over the internet. This number continues to rise as online sales increase, making returns inevitable. Customers can’t always accurately judge the product from a picture on a screen, they may confuse the size and shape of the product, or perhaps to colour isn’t quite what they’d envisaged. Retailers need not dismay with the increase of returns, with every problem comes an opportunity.

With reverse logistics, returns no longer have to be a bane of the industry. Actively managing this process will help to reap resales, increase product life cycle and generally improve the bottom line. What many retailers don’t know is that there are many more advantages to a slick reverse logistics set up. Here are the three lesser known benefits that retailers can make use from which can improve not only the business strategy but increase the value to improve the bottom line and showcase your business as a creative and innovative brand that maximises profits, increases sales and retains customers.

Three Lesser Known Benefits Of Reverse Logistics

1. Customer Feedback And Insight

With every product returned, you get the chance to find out why and draw conclusions from every single return.

If a particular product is continually being returned due to a specific fault, you have the opportunity to use the knowledge to improve future versions of the product or to break ties with a particular manufacturer. By managing the customer information from reverse logistics, you will quickly identify trends with products and use this insight to come up with a more durable solution, which won’t result in returns.

Alternatively, a selection of goods may be returned due to poor sizing, especially in the fashion sector. With these returns, retailers may be able to analyse a trend and may be able to adjust their sizing recommendations on their websites. Even if you cannot change the labels, offering a well-tuned sizing guide on your site may reduce the number of returns you receive.

2. Repeat Business

Returns are becoming the norm in the commercial market. In the past, consumers may have felt ashamed or embarrassed about returning an item this attitude has changed. Shoppers are more budget-conscious are returns are vital if they are not happy.

Having a smooth and seamless reverse logistics setup does not only make the job of your employees easier, but it also gives a great customer impression. Businesses who make returns easy are far more likely to receive high praise from customers and win repeat business.

In a world where consumer ease is priority, a seamless and easy reverse logistics programme that best serves the needs of clients is essential in ensuring business and maintaining excellent client relations.

3. Happy Workforce

Returns, when not actioned, take up valuable space in the warehouse. Without a final goal or destination for returned products they become mismanaged clutter, that takes up valuable space and time. Warehouses need to be swift and ever-moving a zone of stationary clutter will have a detrimental effect on warehouse workers. It is an eyesore, and it detracts from the excellent job they do managing stock and ensuring a smooth, swift process.

Make your workforce happier by actively managing the returns; it will give them an extra zone of control and a place where they feel their work is showcased to the best of their ability. By actively managing returns you free up valuable space to receive new stock and to keep the warehouse orderly and manageable. With reverse logistics, there is no longer a dark and dusty corner that feels neglected.

Let Us Help

At Ribble, we know there are so many benefits of a reverse logistics programme. We want your company to profit from returns and see the positives rather than feel a burden. Our Ribble Right Size solution allows you to maximise your profits through returned goods by restoring products into new, pristine packaging that means you can then re-sell products at their full value.

The Importance of Reverse Logistics

Realise the Importance of Reverse Logistics and Save Money

Reverse logistics or reverse supply chain management is nothing new, in fact, it has always been considered a necessary evil for product returns and recalls. Reverse logistics has been synonymous with extra costs and liability, as a process that brings expense rather than profit. However, in recent years there has been a shift in mentality regarding the importance of reverse logistics and reversing supply chains, and businesses are now discovering that ordinary wasteful occurrences are now an opportunity for profit.

Reverse logistics covers a multitude of processes in the aftermarket sector, from refurbishment, replacement, remanufacturing and scrapping. It is a key system needed to manage the end of life process for your business, allowing you to clear the supply chain path by removing existing products to make way for new season/new era products.

Why The Importance Of Reverse Logistics Is Undervalued

Reverse logistics is commonly known as the ‘Green Strategy’ as it lessens the environmental impact through reducing waste and recycling. There is a substantial profit to be made from reusing parts, but as the costs are not visible and clearly defined, organisations will ignore them.

Without a clear-cut solution, it is very easy for organisations to avoid reverse logistics problems and indeed, the reverse supply chain can be difficult to manage. Forecasting and estimating are essential for any business investment, but while it’s possible to record and plan for returns, it is impossible to reach exact numbers.

To counteract the unforeseeable returns, there is an opportunity for businesses to focus on the end of life strategies for their products, which therefore justifies the expense of faulty and unexpected returns. With an end of life plan in place, it is possible for businesses to predict the total volume of sales and therefore measure the savings and return on investment for reverse logistic programs.

How Reverse Logistics Can Save You Money

Asset Recovery and Avoiding Fines

By having a reverse logistics process for product returns, you can recapture the value of the product or ensure correct disposal, both of which will affect your bottom line. Running products through the supply chain in reverse will ensure maximum value from your product, whether it is through resale, repairs, or using the parts in another product. It is an excellent asset recovery system, and if the product has no value left, then at least, you can ensure a disposal that will avoid hefty fines from the authorities for incorrect disposal.

Second Return on Investment

The more value that you can extract from returned goods, the better. Instead of wasting time, costs and resources on raw materials, you can focus on a greener and cheaper solution. Through reusing or, at least, extending the life of a product through repair gives you a second return from one sale. For example, in the furniture market, customers will look for re-upholstery and repairs to extend the life of the investment, if not, second-hand and refurbished sales will give profits a boost.

Customer Satisfaction and Incentivisation

While not strictly saving money, improving customer satisfaction will improve your profits through business growth and increased sales. By having a liberal and easy returns policy, you will boost the trust and satisfaction of your customers. By taking faulty products seriously and offering repairs and replacements, you will see a significant increase in customer satisfaction through your proactivity and care.

Your returns policy will help to secure a strong customer base through trust and your commitment to ensuring good quality. With a returns policy that showcases how ‘green’ your business is, you incentivise customers to buy your products, giving increased consumer confidence and a base of new customers.

Three Ways To Profit After Realising The Importance of Reverse Logistics

1. Offer a trade-in program for new season products.
2. Increase your warranty and protection sales.
3. Mark down and sell damaged goods cheaper through other website but maintain a full charge for delivery.

How To Avoid Losses Through Reverse Logistics

To make sure your product retains the maximum value possible, you need to ensure that the returns system is robust and seamless. Careful handling and transportation are essential to keep the maximum value of your products and reduce the risk of damage or further damage. If your product is in unharmed with pristine new packaging, you can make sure your product can return to the shelf quickly.

Ribble Restore is an innovative packaging solution that enables returned goods  to be repacked in a bespoke perfectly size box allowing retailers to regain the maximum value possible from returned items.

It is predicted that returns cost retailers £20 billion every single year, to ensure your business capitalises on reverse logistics, saves money and even profits from them, bespoke, protective packaging and timely returns are essential.

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