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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : November 21, 2016

Black Friday returns will test online retailers' supply chains

A fifth of purchases made during the Black Friday shopping period will be returned, according to research by retail data intelligence firm, Clear Returns.

by Helen Leggatt

Shoppers in the UK will spend around £5 billion online from Black Friday to Cyber Monday but, says Clear Returns, the spike in sales also results in a spike in returns. According to their research, £1 billion of purchases made during the Black Friday period will be returned.

The spike in returns results in supply chain pressures with retailers having to deal with extra handling and fluctuating stock levels.

"The result is businesses frequently face a period of time in which they are short of stock while it is out in the supply chain or being considered by customers," says Vicky Brock, CEO of Clear Returns. "The challenge with Black Friday is where it sits in the year - that final weekend of November. Typically, the cycle of returns becoming available to sell again is 15 to 21 days, so that stock, if everything went well, would just about be re-available to the retailer to sell on 20 December - past peak Christmas trading."

While the surge in returns during busy periods is challenging, retailers must ensure they make it as easy as possible for consumers to return unwanted purchases. In fact, many consumers will check out a retailer's returns policy before considering making a purchase.

Tags: 2016 holiday shopping, Black Friday, ecommerce, retail, returns process

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