Reverse Logistics and Returns Management

Overstock Trader helps businesses set up a comprehensive reverse logistics process to get maximum recovery value on customer returns.

Our services enables retailers, manufacturers, and eCommerce sellers of all sizes to identify and address gaps in their returns management processes, resulting in substantial savings.

What are Reverse Logistics and Returns Management?

When we talk about logistics, it primarily involves shipping products to their destinations, typically to customers. Reverse logistics, on the other hand, manages the process when customers return items back to stores or manufacturers. This process starts with the customer and moves backward through the supply chain to the distributor or manufacturer.

Reverse logistics and returns management are closely connected as both deal with the flow of products from customers back to the company. Reverse logistics encompasses the entire process of moving goods from the customer back to the retailer, manufacturer, or distributor for reuse, recycling, refurbishment, or disposal. Returns management, as a key component of reverse logistics, focuses specifically on the operational aspects of handling returned goods, including receiving, inspecting, processing, and determining their disposition. Both aim to maximize value recovery, reduce waste, and minimize costs associated with returns.

Reverse Logistics Quote

What Are The Components of Returns Management

Product returns management is all about coordinating product returns from customers. It includes various important tasks like handling return requests, inspecting returned items to assess their condition, and making informed decisions about what to do next. Items typically fall into each of these categories.

Recommerce and Resale: Some products will still be in a usable condition to be returned back into the supply chain for resale. This involves inspecting, testing, and repackaging the items. It allows for the resale of products as ‘open-box’ goods, even if their packaging has been opened but the product itself is undamaged. This requires similar inspection, testing, and repackaging steps.

Refurbishment: Some returns will require repair or refurbishment of defective or malfunctioning products upon their return. This process often includes testing, repairing, replacing parts, and restoring items to a condition suitable for resale before reintegrating them back into inventory. Specifically, electronic devices and automotive components may undergo refurbishment or remanufacturing to extend their usability.

Recycling and Disposal: When products can’t be sold again or fixed, return logistics will involve recycling or disposing of them. This could mean using eco-friendly methods like recycling materials, repurposing parts, or safely getting rid of hazardous materials following regulations. For many products, there is value in the materials themselves to be extracted.

Comprehensive Returns ManagementRecycling and DisposalItems that require recycling or disposing for value to be extracted.RefurbishmentItems that require repair or refurbishment to restore for resale.Recommerce and ResaleItems in usable condition to be restocked or sold to eCommerce.

Benefits of Reverse Logistics Services

Reduces Losses

Reverse logistics reduces losses by recouping value from returned products through separating out which products need repair, refurbishment, or recycling, from those which can be resold or reused, minimizing waste. It’s all about recouping maximum value from customer product returns.

Increased Revenue

Optimizing reverse logistics often translates to higher profits. Many returns result from factors like incorrect sizing, color mismatches, or model discrepancies. These products typically retain their quality and are primed for resale, contributing to increased revenues.

Sustainable Practices

While some view returned goods as waste, many items can be repurposed or recycled. Including recycling initiatives helps divert products from landfills, promoting sustainability. Reverse logistics not only fosters a circular economy but also enhances your brand’s reputation.

Top Reasons to Outsource to Reverse Logistics Companies

Returns present significant operational challenges for brands, leading to a shift towards outsourcing reverse logistics services. Managing returns requires specialized expertise and resources, making collaboration with reverse logistics providers advantageous. Due to its complexity, partnering with a company that specializes in reverse logistics is often more cost-effective. Here are the key reasons why outsourcing reverse logistics is a strategic decision for businesses:

Handle High Volume of Returns

Improved Profitability

Stronger Asset Recovery

Maximum Value from Products

Ease of Disposal

Simplified Return Components to Manufacturers

Collaboration with Contractors and Dealers

Specialized Assessment of Value

Expertise in Handling Warranties


Why Returns Management in eCommerce is Important

Regardless of how well-optimized your eCommerce platform or physical store is, returns are inevitable—they’re an inherent aspect of the retail industry. These returns can significantly affect your profits. For online sales, it’s crucial to streamline customer returns and reverse logistics to maximize recovery. The need for a robust eCommerce returns management process has never been more critical, as demonstrated below:

Around 30-35% of online orders are returned by customers, compared to 8.89% for in-store purchases.

The average return rate for online orders was 20.8% in 2023, up from 18.1% in the previous year.

Returns of online purchases, estimated at 20%, cost retailers $642 billion each year

Online purchase return rates range from 20-35%.

What Makes Us Different?

Global Network

Recommerce Buyers We Partner With

Recommerce has become a key strategy for businesses maximizing value from retail returns. Recommerce is the practice of companies reselling pre-owned or refurbished customer returns in the secondary retail market. Some of our customer returns buyers include.

Refurbishment Centers

Bin Stores

Online Marketplaces

Scratch & Dent Retailers

Liquidation Companies

Goodwill Retailers

“Overstock Trader is a valuable resource to our team. They always deliver, helping us selling our slow-moving inventory quick. They get us fair pricing on our merchandise.”

Blake, Beauty Manufacturer

“Overstock Trader is easy to work with.  They have a good pulse on the market, and know the major players.  We are happy to have them as part of the team.”

Janet, Warehouse Manager

“Overstock Trader gets the job done. They have helped us many times sell inventory we needed to move quickly.  They have relationships with the right buyers for optimal results.”

Cameron, Warehouse manager, distributor

Optimize Returns with Our Reverse Logistics Services

A well designed reverse logistics process is crucial for businesses aiming to recover as much value as possible from returned goods. The strategic approach to reverse logistics should always be focused on optimizing value recovery throughout the entire process. At Overstock Trader, we take a holistic approach by understanding your business, gaps in your process, and finding the right partners based on your product categories, geography, and volume.


Initial consultation to understand your needs


Evaluation of current processes and identification of improvement areas


Connect you with the best reverse logistics companies


Integration and setup with chosen reverse logistics solutions


Ongoing support and optimization with returns management companies

Why Choose Overstock Trader As a Trusted Reverse Logistics Management Partner?

Access to Expertise

With years of experience in reverse logistics, we have the knowledge to streamline and fill gaps in your returns management process to optimize value recovery.

Vast Global Network

We partner with the best reverse logistics companies and top returns management companies known for their reliability, efficiency, and more importantly, maximum recovery value.

Cost Savings

Reverse logistics is not a one-size-fits-all solution. We find partners who meet the specific needs of your business and provide the most value to help you recoup those margins.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is reverse logistic?

Reverse logistics is the process of handling products that are returned by customers. This includes activities like receiving the returned items, inspecting them, repairing, reselling, recycling, or disposing of them. It focuses on moving goods from the customer back to the business to recover value and minimize waste.

What are the costs of reverse logistics?

The costs of reverse logistics includes several key areas, including transportation expenses for receiving returns, handling and processing fees for inspecting and sorting items, and restocking costs for preparing products for resale. Additional expenses include storage fees, repair and refurbishment costs, and disposal charges for unsellable items. Efficiently managing these elements is crucial for minimizing the financial impact of reverse logistics.

What are the hidden expenses of reverse logistics?

Customer returns come with hidden costs that impact the financial wellbeing of a business. Besides giving refunds, companies must pay for shipping, handling, restocking, and checking returned items. They also spend money on fixing or repackaging products for resale or disposing of unsellable items. Handling returns needs extra work and raises operational costs. Frequent returns can also cause more wear and tear on equipment and storage. These hidden costs, along with possible damage to the brand and customer satisfaction, show why efficient reverse logistics are important to reduce losses.

What is recommerce?

Recommerce is the process of selling returned, refurbished, or used products, often through secondary retail channels sure as bin stores, refurbishment centers, and goodwill retailers. It focuses on the circular economy to increase the lifecycle of items by reintroducing them into the market rather than disposing of them, promoting sustainability and cost savings for consumers.

What are the challenges of reverse logistics?

Reverse logistics has many challenges for businesses, mainly because handling returns is complex and expensive. Unlike forward logistics, which is smooth and predictable, reverse logistics deals with unpredictable return volumes and different product conditions and reasons for returns. Also, processing returns needs special systems and highly trained labor to inspect, fix, recycle, or dispose of products correctly.

How exactly do you sell surplus stock without devaluing your brand?

When looking to sell surplus stock inventory, it’s important to collaborate exclusively with reputable companies that will honor any specified inventory restrictions, such as online sales or transactions with existing purchasers of the product.

Why is customer return management necessary?

Customer return management is necessary for maintaining customer satisfaction and loyalty, especially as the trend of increased returns continues. By providing a smooth, hassle-free returns process, businesses can enhance their reputation and encourage repeat business. Additionally, effective return management allows businesses to recover value from returned products through refurbishment, resale, or recycling, mitigating losses and improving overall profitability.

How does reverse logistics improve margins?

Implementing refurbishment and resale strategies for returned products can help recover value, while partnering with third-party logistics providers leverages their expertise and infrastructure to further reduce costs.

How do you lower the cost of reverse logistics?

Businesses can lower the cost of reverse logistics by implementing automated systems for return processing and inventory management, as well as optimizing transportation logistics to consolidate shipments and use cost-effective carriers, cutting down on expenses.