Consumer research welcomes reverse logistics

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2 way ePOD would increase sales and customer satisfaction

According to recent research conducted by Zetes Ltd, the auto ID solution specialist, consumers would buy more goods online if retailers gave them the option to have any unwanted goods collected directly from their homes or workplaces.

The survey, which was conducted in March 2008 by YouGov from a sample of over 2100 adults from across Britain, found that on average, 71% of consumers believed retailers should be giving them the option to return goods via a collection from their home or workplace instead of forcing them to queue at their local Post Office.  This sentiment was felt most strongly by consumers aged 55+, 81% of whom believed this should be a standard element of the e-tailers service; and consumers based in London, where ongoing post office closures typically mean even longer queues during busy times.

Additionally, 63% of consumers said they would be more inclined to buy more goods online if the retailer offered a collection service for returns.  Again, the 55+ age demographic, suggested to be the fastest growing group of online shoppers, felt this most strongly with 67% in agreement, together with London based consumers at 64%.

These findings are very interesting, especially considering the current difficult trading conditions faced by the retail sector and demonstrate how going the extra mile with innovative customer service policies could give them the edge they need, says James Hannay, Managing Director of Zetes Ltd. 

As part of a wider multi-channel strategy, certain retailers like Next and Debenhams currently allow certain customers to drop off returns at their stores.  But for some high street players, space is too much of an issue for this convenience to be a viable option.  Zetes believes that implementing a 2-way ePOD solution and in doing so, offering customers a convenient collection service is ultimately a better solution because the goods remain within the channel in which they were originally sold.

Integrating both forward and reverse logistics processes, in which the flow of goods both out from and into the supply chain is tracked in real-time, has previously been considered a hugely complex issue.  Since the advent of ePOD (electronic proof of delivery); a very affordable, real time track and trace technology, such integrated process refinements are becoming more widespread.

IKEA is one company which recently implemented ePOD to effectively manage its growing number of customer deliveries since the launch of its Internet shopping service. Implemented by Zetes, the solution provides constant, real- time visibility of IKEAs stock from the moment it leaves the Central Distribution Centre in Peterborough to when it arrives at the customers house, and then tracks any returned goods movement in the reverse direction back into the main IKEA warehouse.

Don Marshall, Deputy Customer Distribution Manager, at IKEA Distribution Services Limited says: Our stock data has never been more accurate and we are making significant cost savings from ordering less replacement stock.

IKEA is also reporting higher levels of customer satisfaction as a result of being able to deal with non-delivered or damaged goods more quickly and efficiently. Unlike the days or hours it would have previously taken, IKEAs customer service team can now contact customers within minutes of receiving their delivery in order to deal with any missing or damaged items.

About Zetes

ZETES INDUSTRIES (Euronext Brussels : ZTS) is a leading pan-European company in the value-added solutions and services industry for Automatic Identification of Goods and People (Goods ID and People ID).  Zetes uses both emerging and mature technologies (barcode, voice recognition, RFID, smartcards, biometrics), and develops Solution Architecture Frameworks to optimize the business performance of many customers in many market segments: manufacturing, transportation, logistics, retail, healthcare, finance, telecommunication, government and public services.

The Zetes group has its headquarters in Brussels, with subsidiaries in Belgium, Denmark; Germany, France, Ireland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. Zetes currently employs more than 600 employees (in FTEs) and generated consolidated revenues of 137.5 million in 2006.

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