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Reverse Logistics Best Practices for 3PLs

With millions of e-commerce companies flocking to find the best 3PLs to help manage their logistics, it's clear that 3PLs know a thing or two about shipping. Still, even third-party logistics companies are affected by impending returns. According to Invesp, nearly a third of online purchases are returned, suggesting that more and more consumers are becoming comfortable returning online purchases.


For 3PLs, it is essential to demonstrate to customers the best service by perfecting reverse logistics strategies. The easiest way to do that is with DesktopShipper. DesktopShipper is a solution capable of assisting 3PL companies in automating orders, rate shopping, batch shipping, and perfectly syncing with other technology all in one place.


The following are our five best practices for reverse logistics provided by 3PLs:


Stack Technology

Stacking technologies refer to the integration of multiple applications, software, platforms, and other solutions that a company needs to successfully run and manage its e-commerce operations. This is especially important for 3PLs.

The physical and organizational integrity of technology integrations like Inventory Management Systems (IMS), Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), and marketplaces is vital to the successful management of your warehouses.

Look to partner your WMS with a shipping solution for a smooth reverse logistics workflow. While a Warehouse Management System is a program that helps your 3PL warehouse with inventory management and overall organization, Order Management Systems are used by 3PLs to help them manage multiple companies' orders and help facilitate reverse logistics. Although bumps and hiccups are expected in any business, keeping this system organized can only benefit your reverse logistics program. The physical cleanliness of the space can minimize inventory loss and accounting errors regarding returned merchandise. Keeping up with stock on the 3PL level can also help e-retailers communicate to their customers when items become available again. For unpacking boxes and accounting for returned products, there should be a separate area within the warehouse. This should be a priority each and every day.



A Narvar study reports that 95% of polled online shoppers said they would continue to shop with a company when they have a positive return experience. A positive return experience involves hassle-free, constant email communication, a quick monetary refund, and good communication in terms of customer service. As a 3PL, you can control the hassle-free and fast monetary return part of the process by keeping up to date with returns, alerting the company, and alerting the customer. Good reverse logistics for your 3PL means good reverse logistics for your companies. This results in repeat customers, a positive reputation, and a growing business.


Create a Return Service

Returns, as we mentioned, can be a huge hurdle for consumers. Make it easy by including a return label within the delivery. Through DesktopShipper, you can generate and print return labels through special services. Through a carrier service, the software will flip the ship from and ship to addresses when requesting a return label. If the label is not used, then the company is not charged.

In terms of helping your reverse logistics, a shipping solution like DesktopShipper can create prepaid return labels and rate shops for the best price to get the package back to the warehouse, saving you both time and money. If the return label isn't used, then the payment never goes through, and there's no harm, no foul.


Utilize Reduced Rates

Businesses can benefit from parcel management in a variety of ways. Typically, when it comes to third-party logistics providers, it means cheaper shipping rates due to the large volumes of goods. As the demand for free shipping AND returns increases, it can become quite expensive to offer free returns. To facilitate easier returns, we suggest 3PLs should instead forward their discount shipping rates to retailers they do business with. Reduced shipping rates will attract more companies to your fulfillment center.


Account Profiles

It is also possible to create individual account profiles for your retailers. Profiles can assign a set of variables to an order, like controlling origin and return addresses, which prevents returns from being mixed up and eliminates inventory errors. To set up an account profile in DesktopShipper, locations (origin address and return address), integrations, and carriers are required. Make returns hassle-free with a shipping solution. Save your 3PL time, money, and headaches with account profiles.



As an e-commerce business reading this, you are probably already aware that reverse logistics 3PLs possess advantages. Technology is vital for the success of 3PLs. You must utilize technology that is both functional and user-friendly. E-commerce sellers and 3PL providers alike are still looking for ways to improve reverse logistics, and both are trying to figure out the best way to accomplish it. By following these best practices, you can ensure that your customers and their customers remain satisfied.


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