Retailers and service providers from all around the world descended on IMRG Connects first E-Commerce Worldwide Summit last week in London. It was IMRG’s first summit focusing on cross-border trade, and was well attended by representatives from both the retail sector and service providers.
ReBOUND had a speaker slot in the main theatre on innovation, but also facilitated a roundtable discussion as experts in the field of Returns, alongside partners at P2P.
Sitting in on all the presentations during the day as well as continuing discussions out in the networking area, a reoccurring feature was the issue of international trade flat-lining due to the lack of research being conducted before brands decide to take the plunge cross-border. The challenges were clear and included the need to tackle brand awareness and consumer preference in different parts of the world, but also how to manage bringing items back.
This leads very smoothly onto my next point, as it was clear during the day that companies are still very suspicious of returns due to the fact that the majority of speakers skated over the topic without revealing a sustainable solution. During P2P’s innovation speech, Gary Tervitt described returns in the retail sector perfectly as ‘the beast in the background that no one likes to talk about’.
ReBOUND’s very own Graham Best decided to push returns into the spotlight in his afternoon speaking slot on innovation, focusing in on how returns can be a real problem which can prove both costly and time-consuming if not handled correctly. Crucially, Graham highlighted that with the right process and policy, returns could ultimately help retailers sell more in the long-run.
It is unfortunate that little is out there in the way of research currently into cross-border returns, which hinders a retailer’s chance of getting their process correct to begin with. The ReBOUND team have solved this problem by researching the market themselves, benchmarking the top UK retailers who sell cross-border on a range of different metrics. This is a really good starting point for retailers as it means that the ReBOUND team are equipped with the knowledge to tell retailers what they are doing well, and how they can improve.