5 Ways to Improve Your Reverse Logistics Process

A weak returns process can cause chaos. Warehouses get flooded with products waiting to be sorted. Packages sit in limbo whether intact, damaged or expired all together. All the while, customers grow frustrated waiting for their returns to be processed and accounts to be credited.

An inefficient system not only slows operations, it can also cost a company money, by allowing products to depreciate, or perish, in the case of food products. Building a robust reverse logistics flow takes time, but with a few simple steps, any retailer can introduce efficiency into their operations. Here we outline five ways to optimize your returns.

  1. 1

    Include a merchandise return label with your shipments.

    Make your return experience more convenient by adding a return label to every outgoing package. This can help boost customer satisfaction without breaking the bank, as many return labels do not incur shipping costs until they are used.

  2. 2

    Dedicate a space for returns in your warehouse and implement a three-bin system.

    Return to supplier. Restock. Discard. By using these three sorting bins for returned merchandise, your warehouse can begin routing the packages in the right direction.

  3. 3

    Integrate items from the “Restock” bin back into the stocking process.

    Merchandise that can be sold again should enter your forward-moving flow as quickly as possible. Check your bins frequently to ensure that items ready to be restocked are scanned back into the system and made available for purchase.

  4. 4

    Keep high-priority and fast-selling items in a buffer zone.

    Designate a space for high-priority return items. That way, you won’t spend time moving them to their original storage location, allowing them to be picked for resale more quickly.

  5. 5

    Ensure your packaging is sturdy enough to travel back safely.

    Poor packaging leads to damage and even loss of merchandise. If you intend for your customers to use the original packaging when returning their purchase, make sure it can handle the wear. Invest in thicker cardboard boxes and tear-proof poly mailers to prevent issues down the line.

In Conclusion

Every returns process presents opportunities for improvement. By keeping an eye on your processes’ pain points and introducing new strategies for efficiency, your company can streamline its operations and improve its outbound flow.

Packaging Alternatives for the Eco-Responsible Business

Since the start of the environmental movement, companies have been on the hunt for sustainable business solutions. Some have chosen to create energy-efficient products, while others set up shop in buildings with LEED certification, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Packaging has become one more viable option, allowing businesses to limit their carbon footprint on the world. Explore the variety of ecofriendly options on the market today.

Recycled Cardboard and Paper

These materials are made of corrugated cardboard boxes and paper recycled by consumers and larger industrial companies. Not only are they easily available, they are also biodegradable and non-toxic. By using their recycled forms, companies lessen their carbon footprint. The materials can also be recycled themselves. Businesses can work with packaging manufacturing companies to find environmentally friendly solutions made with a high proportion of recycled paper.


This green material can be used for limited-use products like take-out boxes, other food packaging and packing peanuts. Cornstarch peanuts can protect and support items when shipped and can fit almost any-size shipping container. They’re also biodegradable. When static-free organic cornstarch decomposes in water, it leaves no toxic waste. Numerous packaging companies offer this eco-friendly option.

“While there are many ways to help a business go green, packaging provides a number of eco-friendly options.”

Eco-Friendly Plastic

Companies looking to move away from more harmful plastic materials can invest in a greener alternative. There are a number of different kinds of eco-friendly plastic packaging on the market today. Some are made from recycled polythene, which lessons greenhouse emissions by using less plastic in the manufacturing process. Others are completely degradable and decompose in landfills in the presence of light, heat and water.

Packaging Made with Mushrooms or Organic Materials

This sustainable material is made of mycelium, also known as mushroom roots. Using agricultural waste, companies are able to grow foam-like packaging. The fibers in the mushroom bind the waste creating a solid end product. Because this product is grown, it’s also highly customizable and perfect for any number of businesses. Not only is it non-toxic, this packaging is biodegradable, compostable and rapidly renewable.

Making the Right Decision

While there are many ways to help a business go green, packaging provides a number of eco-friendly options. Businesses can lessen their impact on the environment by starting an open dialogue with their current packaging providers. Many manufacturers and online retailers offer eco-friendly alternatives suitable for a multitude of applications and industries. Whatever the material—cornstarch, recycled paper, even mushrooms—a green packaging solution is available on the market today.

3 Big Trends in Product Packaging Design

Product packaging sits at a critical intersection of marketing and shipping. It reflects the brand, promotes the product and contributes to the overall customer experience. It also protects the contents housed inside. Though it may seem like an afterthought, packaging design offers strategic benefits to a business. Here, we’ll discuss its hallmarks, then explore the newest design trends employed by companies today.

What Makes It So Important?

While advertisements, emails and social media feeds are traditional routes to building brand loyalty and converting customers, packaging can play that very same role. At a glance, it is a physical, tactile ad for the product and an opportunity to make a lasting first impression. Once the product is purchased, packaging has the potential to become something more. In the era of the “unboxing experience,” it has the ability to wow consumers and set a company apart from its competition. Great packaging can even inspire customers to post positive reviews on social media.

When it comes to shipping, packaging design takes on a whole new meaning. More than a promotional piece, packaging serves as a protective element. It prevents damage to the product and, in some cases, boosts its shelf life. It also affects a business’s bottom line. The more efficient the design, the less material used and less money spent. The content, dimensions and structure of a product’s packaging affect product margins, shipping costs and operations. The smartest companies settle on designs that strike a balance between marketing value and cost.

Today’s Packaging Trends

A few design principles have risen to the top in recent years. Whether driven by the flood of information consumers encounter every day, the benefits of geometric packaging or the ethics of eco-responsibility, these are the most prevalent examples on the market today:

Simplicity First

Consumers are constantly inundated by a cacophony of messages, whether online, on television or in print. To rise above the din, brands have opted to take a basic approach to their packaging design. This minimal style communicates only the most vital information. Though it makes for a less flashy unboxing experience, the effects can still be charming, not to mention cost-effective. The hallmark of this packaging is a pared-down design, with only the most important details printed on the bottle. Containers feature a hint of branding but are otherwise left unadorned.




Geometry 101

This packaging trend focuses on the simplicity of shapes. Patterns and structures take center stage here. Utilizing containers with sparse graphics and bare-bones branding allows companies to limit design costs without sacrificing style. By using a few specific forms of packaging, these businesses can also settle on the optimal shipping containers in terms of size and price.




Green Designs

Brands set on building sustainable business models have turned to packaging to achieve their goals. Working with recycled materials, these companies can draw eco-friendly customers and limit environmental waste. Using less packaging also allows them to manage profit margins and mitigate shipping costs, unless, of course, the package size is large enough to be subject to dimensional weight pricing. The less material the packages use, the lower the weight of each parcel, the lower the shipping cost. A number of companies utilize this simplified packaging concept, creating plain, uniform designs that help conserve natural resources.





When done right, packaging can serve more than a physical function. A well-designed experience can excite customers, enhance marketing efforts and lower a company’s bottom line. Good packaging has the power to strengthen a business, not just protect its products.

5 Ways to Gear Up for the Retail Holiday Season

The holidays present countless opportunities for businesses to meet their bottom lines. They also present countless opportunities for pitfalls. Inefficient warehouse systems, confusing communications and incorrect packaging can prevent companies, both small and large, from making their year-end fiscal goals. Read on for tips to help you tackle the lucrative days ahead.

Quick Tip 1: Talk to Your Supplier

It’s critical for your business to have stock going in and out in a timely manner. Work with your shipping provider to confirm pick-up schedules, communicate changes in business hours and identify peak volume days. That way, your warehouse will know what to expect.

Quick Tip 2: Evaluate Your Warehouse Systems

Make sure your warehouse is logically organized. Place “bundle” items in the same area for easy picking and packing, and set aside room for dramatic influxes of shipments. Finally, inspect your technology so that it’s running smoothly.

Quick Tip 3: Simplify Your New Hire Onboarding Process

The more confusing the training process, the less productive your workers will be. Talk to permanent and returning staff to tweak your onboarding process for clarity and effectiveness.

Quick Tip 4: Use the Right Size Packaging

With dimensional weight pricing, both the weight and size of the packaging affects the ultimate shipping price. As more transportation companies use this pricing method, businesses should diversify the types of packaging they use. Consider Padded Paks, Poly mailers or other packaging in lieu of boxes. In most cases, the smaller the package, the lower the shipping cost.

Quick Tip 5: Communicate with Your Customers Clearly

Take your holiday communications to task. Look through last year’s customer complaints to fix the wording of return policies, shipping timelines and Christmas cut-off dates. Your language should be uniform across every channel.

Ready for More?

With so much at stake during the holidays, businesses need to put in the work to achieve their goals. Take a deeper dive into holiday prep by downloading “A 4-Part Plan to Make This Your Best Holiday Shipping Season Yet.”