Why retailers must prepare for the returns season now Christmas is over by Martin Hodgson, Head of UK and Ireland, Paessler

There’s a certain etiquette around both gift giving and receiving.

We’ve all been there. Most of us will have received an unwanted gift – and if not, then you’ve most probably given one. Be it the classic pair of socks, or an item of clothing that doesn’t quite fit – we’ve all joined in conversations about the worst presents we’ve ever received.

Consequently, for retailers, while the holiday season brings in floods of consumer purchases, the post-Christmas period bears witness to the withdrawal of the tide. Come January, the festive fun is fast replaced with the post-holiday slump, and retailers face an influx of returns and exchanges as consumers part with their unwanted gifts and ease back in to their usual purchasing patterns. To make matters worse, it’s not just the returns of gifts that retailers must brace themselves for, but also products purchased during the boxing day sales.

What’s more – consumers expect a hassle-free returns process. We’re all guilty of buying multiple items in varying sizes with the intention of returning the ones we don’t want after a fashion show in front of our own bedroom mirrors. Individuals in this particular scenario are often referred to as ‘serial returners’, putting retailers under increasing pressure to improve the returns process.

The largest problem for retailers is that many were established before the current age of omnichannel ecommerce and are therefore operating on legacy IT systems that aren’t capable of maintaining today’s level of purchases and returns. It’s therefore imperative that retailers understand what level of performance their systems can accommodate to prevent issues before they occur and predict potential faults. This is where effective monitoring of your IT systems can help. To avoid website crashes and glitchy servers during peak returns periods, automated monitoring ensures that customers can always receive great customer service, leading to better brand loyalty and a stronger brand identity in the long run.

The bottom line is that if retailers wish to maintain a competitive edge, they must ensure their IT services remain a top priority – particularly during peak returns season. After all, it only takes one negative experience to taint both a customer’s loyalty to a brand and the brand’s reputation.

www.paessler.com

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