Narvar, provider of an ecommerce returns platform for retailers, is letting them offer customers the convenience of home pickup of returns within one to five days for a convenience fee, a service that was piloted at 70 companies in Q4.
The home pickup service is currently offered in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston, with plans to expand to about 100 more markets in the coming months. DSW, Levi Strauss and Ann Taylor were among the retailers who took part in the pilot program. Consumers can opt for home pickup when initiating a return.
Returns in general are reaching the unsustainable levels. A recent survey from the National Retail Federation and Appriss Retail found the estimated value of all consumer returns went up an incredible 75% in 2021, reaching $761 billion.
Mike Haswell, VP of global partnerships at Narvar, said retailers tested convenience fees of $5 to $7 during the pilot program, adding some are looking to cover the cost while others may offer it free to high-value or loyalty club members.
“We tend to look through a consumer lens, to find the most convenient way to do a return,” Haswell said. “They have to box it up, then it sits at the front door until they run some errands. That is a pain point for retailers. Delays in restocking is a real thing, given supply chain constraints, and consumers making returns are a key source of inventory. We found home pickup reduces the return time by as much as 25%.”
Narvar manages the service levels of the pickup service, and selects the best courier or carrier in a particular market from among its partner network. Haswell said consumers so far have overwhelmingly been choosing the next-day option for ecommerce returns pickup, adding the service has proven popular, with an NPS rating of 65%.
Narvar also offers the option of picking up orders or dropping off ecommerce returns at one of more than 200,000 locations globally, including Walgreens stores and malls owned by Simon Properties. They also offer boxless returns via both UPS and FedEx.
Last year, Narvar rolled out a dashboard tool that gives retailers a real-time view into data on packages in transit from UPS, providing visibility in order to anticipate and proactively address issues.