How do 3PL and eCommerce companies deal with returns?

Feb 22, 2024

With the relatively recent upward trend of consumers returning more items it’s more important than ever for 3PL and eCommerce businesses to have a clear strategy of how to deal with the volume and challenge of returned items.

CSL discusses the key challenges and nuances of how 3PL and eCommerce businesses face this challenge. But you don’t have to do it alone. Conveyor Systems Limited can help you easier navigate these challenges and really help your business to grow and to help you continue to deliver excellence for the increasing demands of your customers.

Conveyor system and racking

Challenges in 3PL and E-commerce returns management


Volume and complexity:

3PL providers dealing with returns from multiple clients face increased volume and a diverse range of products. E-commerce businesses, especially those with vast product ranges can encounter complexity in managing returns efficiently.


Speed and customer expectations:

The e-Commerce landscape demands swift resolution of returns to meet customer expectations. Delays in processing returns can result in heightened dissatisfaction. While items are awaiting processing they are also not available for sale.


Integration challenges:

Coordinating returns seamlessly into existing inventory management systems poses integration challenges for both 3PL and eCommerce entities.

Two Sparck CVP Impack machines at CEF

Automation: A strategic approach to mitigate return costs


Efficient sorting and processing:

Automated sorting systems streamline the handling of returned items, expediting the identification and processing of products. This reduces labour costs and accelerates return-to-stock timelines.


Real-time stock visibility:

Automation provides real-time visibility into stock levels. This allows for proactive management of returned items, minimizing the impact on overall inventory accuracy.


Data-Driven decision making:

Automation systems capture data on returns, enabling detailed analytics. This data empowers businesses to identify trends, assess the root causes of returns, and implement targeted strategies for improvement.


Enhanced customer communication:

Automated communication systems can keep customers informed about the return process, reducing uncertainty and potential dissatisfaction. Clear communication contributes to a positive customer experience, mitigating the risk of negative reviews.


Integrating returns into operations:

Automated systems seamlessly integrate returns into existing operational workflows. This not only reduces the strain on resources but also ensures a more efficient and consistent approach to returns processing.

Roller conveyor system in warehouse

CSL can help

CSL’s automation solutions have empowered 3PL providers and e-commerce companies to handle returns with incredible efficiency. By integrating automated sortation and processing systems, CSL clients have witnessed significant reductions in operational costs associated with returns.

We will work with you to assess your current procedures and advise on the right systems to put in place to improve efficiencies.  We can also support your business as it grows to keep up with increasing demand for years to come. And with Conveyor Care from CSL we can help maintain your systems and keep them running at peak efficiency so there are no unexpected or unpleasant surprises.

Major players in the e-commerce and 3PL sectors have embraced automation to optimise returns management. By leveraging advanced technologies, they have not only reduced costs but also enhanced their reputation for customer service excellence.

You can find out more about the cost of returns in the UK in our recent blog.

To find out more about how Conveyor Systems Ltd can help your business deal with returns contact us on 01283 55 22 55 or email


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