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The Growing Product Returns Supply Chain | PostalVision 2020

The Growing Product Returns Supply Chain

Each year, consumers reportedly return about $380 billion worth of goods, $90 billion of which are processed over the holiday period with only about half ending up back on retailers’ shelves. The National Retail Federation estimates 15% to 30% of items bought online will be returned — about $32 billion worth.

According to Optoro, a tech company that helps retailers manage their returns (and a PostalVision 2017 speaker), 5 billion pounds of returned items end up in the trash/landfills, as reported by CNN Money in December 2017. It said these returns are also costing retailers — yet some retailers are now building business models based on returns.  Rent The Runway, for example, offers consumers the ability to rent fashion designer apparel and return items for free. Warby Parker uses an online model that encourages shoppers to pick out 5 pairs of eyeglasses, try them on at home, and return the ones they don’t want — for free.

With e-commerce consumers demanding easy to use, low cost or free returns with clear policies outlined before purchase, it is no wonder that the returns/reverse logistics market is booming.  While product returns have become challenging for today’s global supply chain managers, at the same time new revenue streams are being created in the 3PL, parcel shipping, and warehousing sectors.

To hear the latest trends, challenges and solutions for the returns/reverse logistics side of the global parcels-logistics-delivery ecosystem, come to PostalVision’s 8th annual event, to be held April 3-5, 2018, at The Ritz Carlton Pentagon City, where a special session will be devoted to this topic. Panelists include Tony Sciarrotta, Executive Director of the Reverse Logistics Association (RLA); Jim Rallo, President & CEO of Liquidity Services Inc.’ and Dr. Ian Stanford, Public Policy Analyst with the USPS’ Office of Inspector General (OIG).

Tony Sciarrotta RLA

Tony Sciarrotta, Executive Director, of the Reverse Logistics Association (RLA) maintains that with the return rate of e-commerce purchases being three to four times higher than that for brick-and-mortar purchases, the reverse sector is only going to grow in future years. But not all of the news is good, he cautions.  “With consumers insisting on free returns, reverse logistics is going to be under a lot of pressure to satisfy consumer expectations and demand,” he says. “Furthermore, they feel entitled to return goods when they realize that they don’t want or need them.”

Sciarrotta has over 30 years’ experience in the consumer electronics industry, including working for Philips to develop its returns management department. Sciarrotta now continues to promote improvements in consumer products to reduce returns and to improve reverse logistics activities through his role with the RLA.

Jim Rallo

Jim Rallo, President & CEO, Liquidity Services Inc., a global solution provider in the reverse supply chain, serves as President of Liquidity’s Retail Supply Chain Group (RSCG) which helps hundreds of the world’s top retailers and consumer OEMs maximize returns for overstock and returned inventory, while enhancing and protecting their brands through multi-channel remarketing, return to vendor outsourcing, and product refurbishment.

Since joining Liquidity Services, Rallo has been instrumental in growing and shaping the company’s e-commerce marketplace and service offerings for the retail supply chain. Today, more than half of the top 20 retailers and manufacturers partner with Liquidity Services to ensure that their returned and surplus merchandise in more than 500 product categories obtains the highest recovery rate possible. This helps them reduce their costs and enhance brand protection while giving business buyers access to top quality inventory they can resell on the secondary market.

Ian Stanford_OIG

Dr. Ian Stanford, Public Policy Analyst with the USPS’ Office of Inspector General (OIG), will share research the OIG has done around the returns market and trends with the continued growth in ecommerce.  Dr. Stanford’s research focuses on how technological innovations and public policy can modernize and improve postal operations, particularly in the parcels market. He was part of a research team that wrote a white paper looking at how the Postal Service is adapting to ongoing trends in the Logistics Industry entitled The Evolving Logistics Landscape and the U.S. Postal Service, and he currently leads a research team examining the role the U.S. Postal Service plays in the reverse logistics industry.


Join the conversation!

Don’t sit out this event and read about what happened later on, be part of the conversation!  Grab your discounted Registration TODAY before the price goes up March 23, and don’t forget to book your hotel TODAY (We are past our room block cut-off date at the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City — For assistance with booking a room at the discounted PostalVision room rate of $275/night, you must contact  Anne Stuart, astuart@verizon.net.).

So Many Reasons to Attend…

Participating in this exciting “Imagine” session is just the latest reason to reserve your seat NOW…  If you need even more reminders why you should register to attend, here are just a few previously announced highlights of the April 3-5, 2018 event – and there’s more to come!

  • PostalPitch StartUp Award. Just this week the finalists were announced in our first PostalPitch competition, which invited StartUps to present innovative products or solutions with a unique value proposition that may have the potential to change the postal and logistics market or even create a new market. The finalists will present their idea, product or solution to the PostalVision audience at the event, and a jury of postal and logistics experts will select the StartUp that ranks best according to the award criteria.  The jury includes:  Thierry Golliard, Director Open Innovation & Venturing, Swiss Post; Olaf Klargaard, Director, Innovation, Geopost; Karlijn Krol, StartUp Scout, PostNL Innovation Studio; Gary Reblin, Vice President, Product Innovation, USPS; Farzin Shadpour, Vice President and Managing Director, Supply Chain, PlugandPlay; and Elmar Toime, Chairman Postea Group.
  • Cooper Smith, Director of Amazon Intelligence, at business intelligence firm L2 Inc. — proclaimed by participants as one of the best speakers at PostalVision’s 2017 annual event, will return to the PostalVision’s platform at its April 2018 event. Don’t miss Cooper’s presentation, where he will provide an update on the state of e-commerce delivery (including some data to be first released to attendees of the event!). As L2’s resident expert on all things Amazon as well as the broader ecommerce market, Cooper will provide PostalVision event attendees with the latest news and analysis on activities by Amazon, Walmart, Jet, Target and other big box retailers as they look to solve the “last mile” delivery puzzle.
  • Jamie Siminoff, Founder & Chief Inventor at Ring, Inc. (recently acquired by Amazon!), will speak on Package Theft Prevention. Ring is on a mission to reduce neighborhood crime and educate consumers on the rising threat of package thefts. With nearly one in five homeowners falling victim to package thefts, Ring founded National Package Protection Day to bring awareness to this issue, and Jamie will discuss the problematic phenomenon that we in the delivery industry know only too well as “porch piracy.”
  • A great panel of global innovation leaders will participate in this year’s “Innovation and Global Perspectives” session, which will be moderated by the chairman of the Postal Innovation Platform (PIP), Bernhard Bukovc. Panelists include Holger Winklbauer, President and CEO of the International Post Corporation (IPC); Bernard Haurie, Deputy DG and Senior Vice President for Innovation, HR and eCommerce at Geopost (Groupe La Poste, France); Thierry Golliard, Director of PostVenture, Swiss Post’s venture capital branch; Juha TolvanenJuha Tolvanen, Head of Network Design, Posti Finland; and Karlijn Krol, PostNL Innov Panel.

And that’s just a taste of what this great event has in store!

Registration Discounts Still in Effect!

One more reason to register…registration discounts are still in effect!  Pricing and hotel information can be found on our web site.


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