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Reverse Logistics In Ecommerce – The Last Mile Problem And Its Solutions

Reverse Logistics In Ecommerce – The Last Mile Problem And Its Solutions

With the continuous growth of ecommerce sales, the occurrence of order returns, replacements, and refunds is also on the rise. Without an efficient and cost-effective reverse logistics system in place, it can become challenging to retain customers and run a profitable business. In this article, we will explore the importance of reverse logistics in ecommerce and discuss potential solutions to the last mile problem.

The Growing Reality of Order Returns in Ecommerce

Order returns have become an inevitable reality in the ecommerce industry. On average, the ecommerce sector witnesses a return rate of about 10 to 11 percent. Today's consumers are highly conscious of return policies, with nearly 90 percent reviewing a site's policy before making a purchase decision. A satisfactory return policy instills confidence in consumers, even before they review a product.

The Cost of Order Returns and Sustainable Solutions

The cost of last-mile delivery due to order returns can be reduced by utilizing reusable packaging and returnable handling units. This not only saves costs but also contributes to maintaining ecological logistics practices, making your company a responsible corporate citizen.

The Challenges of Reverse Logistics and Its Impact on Customer Satisfaction

Setting up efficient logistical processes to handle order returns is a challenging task, especially since it overlaps with the equally challenging last-mile delivery. However, a strong return policy is instrumental in retaining customers and achieving high levels of customer satisfaction.

The Role of Last Mile Logistics in Handling Order Returns

Managers are now implementing delivery networks to guide returned orders back to the order fulfillment center. Last mile logistics is responsible for material supply, including parts and spare parts for the production process. It is also deployed to supply inventory to offline and online stores, including third parties like 3PLs (third-party logistics providers), from where goods are directly moved to customers. Managing order returns in the online retail world is more complex than in physical stores, necessitating a well-planned reverse logistics process.

The Importance of Automation in Reverse Logistics

Reverse logistics in the world of online retail requires automation to effectively manage processes such as refunds, returned inventory management, and related checks and balances. Without the necessary automation, logistics companies struggle to handle delivery schedules and operations across different geographies. Unlike a physical store, e-commerce operates 24/7 on a large scale, dealing with multiple tax regimes, regulations, and complex delivery and reverse logistics processes.

Automated Dispatch Software as a Solution

Implementing modern automated dispatch software allows logistics managers to optimize delivery routes by considering various important factors such as traffic, weather, and delivery windows. Dispatch software includes reverse logistics in its scheduling of product delivery, enabling logistics companies to initiate the return process faster and efficiently utilize company resources. It ultimately leads to better customer service.

Data Insights and Informed Decisions

Implementing dispatch software in supply chain and logistics processes generates valuable data. This includes information on returned SKUs, reasons for returns, and customer comments. The data crunching ability of dispatch software provides logistics teams with deep insights into the key reasons for returns, enabling them to make informed decisions and improve their processes.

Selecting a 3PL Provider with Reverse Logistics Capabilities

When selecting a third-party logistics provider (3PL), it is essential to consider their reverse logistics capabilities. A reputable 3PL should be proficient in storing returned parcels in their warehouses and managing the entire order return, refund, and replacement process, including inspection, restocking, rejection, refunding, and replacing. The effectiveness of their reverse logistics operations is directly influenced by the dispatch software they utilize.


Reverse Logistics, Ecommerce, Last Mile Problem, Order Returns, Refunds, Replacements, Efficient System, Customer Retention, Profitability, Return Rate, Consumer Confidence, Satisfactory Return Policy, Reusable Packaging, Returnable Handling Units, Sustainable Solutions, Last-Mile Delivery, Last Mile Logistics, Automation, Dispatch Software, Data Insights, 3PL Providers.


1. What is reverse logistics in ecommerce? Reverse logistics in ecommerce refers to the process of managing order returns, replacements, and refunds. It involves efficiently handling the flow of goods from the end customer back to the order fulfillment center.

2. Why is reverse logistics important in ecommerce? Reverse logistics is crucial in ecommerce as it directly impacts customer retention and profitability. A well-functioning reverse logistics system helps retain customers by providing a satisfactory return policy and ensures efficient management of order returns.

3. How does automation help in reverse logistics? Automation plays a vital role in reverse logistics by streamlining processes such as refunds, returned inventory management, and logistics operations across geographies. It enables logistics companies to handle delivery schedules efficiently and reduce the complexity of managing order returns.

4. What role does last mile logistics play in handling order returns? Last mile logistics is responsible for guiding returned orders back to the order fulfillment center. It handles the direct delivery of parcels to end customers, whether the orders are made online or at offline stores. Last mile logistics also supplies inventory to physical stores, including third-party logistics providers.

5. How does dispatch software help in managing reverse logistics? Dispatch software with built-in reverse logistics capabilities optimizes delivery routes and initiates the return process faster. It allows logistics managers to utilize company resources effectively, leading to better customer service and improved efficiency. The software also provides valuable data insights, enabling informed decision-making.