How Can I Optimize My Returns Management Process?

How Can I Optimize My Returns Management Process?

Who hasn’t experienced it?… Sitting comfortably on the couch in the evening, surfing the internet with your mobile phone or laptop and looking for new favourite pieces or a change in your wardrobe. Once you’ve found the right piece, it’s usually just a few clicks and you’ve bought it. Once the parcel is on its way to your home, joy sets in. The package arrives and you can finally examine your new clothes. You look and try them on directly. However, you notice that one item is not the one you ordered and another has a loose seam. Annoyingly, you now return these items.
Here we explain how you as a company can prevent such incidents with the end customer and optimise your returns management process!

What Types of Returns Errors Are There Actually?

There are actually several sources of returns errors from a logistical point of view:

  • Type error: occurs when an item with an incorrect identification (e.g. EAN13 barcode) is added to an order because it may have been incorrectly booked into the same storage location as the actual correct item.
  • Quantity error: occurs when more or fewer items end up in the order than were actually intended.
  • Omission error – a special type of quantity error : This error is when a bin location has been skipped or forgotten during the pick, which consequently leads to a quantity error.
  • Condition error: occurs when items are damaged or unclean.

How Can I Prevent Returns?

Type of errorType errorQuantity errorOmission error
Preventive measuresPick-by-scanVoice-functionPick-by-scan
DescriptionWith this technique, the goods are picked with a person-to-goods principle and a barcode scanner. This means that the employees are shown on the tablet to which storage location they should go and which article with which identification/ EAN they should pick.Pick-by-scan technology with an integrated voice function reacts here as soon as an incorrect item or too many items have been picked. In addition, this error can be avoided by scanning the item several times (e.g. pick, pack, etc.).This mistake can be avoided especially if an IT-linked picking system is used. This means that the goods are not picked by hand with a list, but with technical support.

Reactive Measures

If a customer sends back items from their order, they are checked in the returns management process and examined for defects. Depending on how serious the defects are, the item is sent for reprocessing or sorted out as B-goods. The B-goods are first stored and then sold by the manufacturers in outlets, donated or recycled. Items that do not have any defects are returned to the shelves and are available for new orders. However, it is recommended to work with logistics providers who ensure system-based traceability of the movement of these items. Further instructions on quality checks of the goods, both in the inbound, pack and return, enable a quick response on the part of the logistics partner. In this way, unnecessary waiting times in processing can be avoided. In order to be able to carry out such quality checks, the logistics service provider should provide its employees with extensive training and instruction. With these reactive measures, condition errors can be prevented.


It is important to make sure that the logistics provider of your choice works with a technical order picking system, as this can prevent many errors and automatically leads to fewer returns, which are independent of your products.

It doesn’t take much effort to optimise your returns management process. It is a few small and simple actions that can make a lot of difference. Firstly, it will increase your customer satisfaction, as customers can be confident that the goods they receive are the right ones and have no defects. This in turn will lead to customer loyalty, as customers will be happy to shop with you again and again if your processes are smooth and easy to handle, and they will remember your brand positively. In order to get more precise feedback from your customers about the exact reason for the return, we recommend always enclosing a return slip where the customer can tell you exactly what they didn’t like about the item. This should be filled in and returned with the returned item.

Do you have questions about MOODJA’s returns services? Connect with us via!

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