After Black Friday, here comes Boomerang Thursday - that’s when we send everything back

WE’VE HAD Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but now it’s the turn of Boomerang Thursday, when up to 40 per cent of the goods purchased over the cyber weekend are returned.

Steve Parkin, at Clipper Logistics Group, in Leeds.

Clipper Logistics, the firm that distributes goods for blue chip retailers such as Asda, Morrisons, John Lewis and ASOS, said high levels of ordering over the cyber weekend will result in very high levels of returns this week.

The group’s founder Steve Parkin said: “Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been huge for Clipper. We are expecting quite hefty volumes of returns and we are all geared up for it.

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“There were no issues with either Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We are delighted and our customers are delighted.

“John Lewis has been fantastic and we achieved 100 per cent (delivery) success.”

In UK fashion retailing, between 25 and 40 per cent of goods are returned and the level is as high as 50 per cent in some European countries.

Leeds-based Clipper said that all returned goods needs to be checked, reprocessed, repacked and sent back as stock for the next customer in a very timely fashion to ensure the goods can sell at full margin and in the right season.

“It is a very key issue for today’s retailers, which have to process returns and refund the money almost as quickly as getting the original delivery processed and out the door,” said Mr Parkin.

“The return experience is the final touch point between a customer and the retail brand. A bad returns experience can make a customer fall out with a brand and they’ll shop elsewhere – and tell their friends. Returns management is now viewed as a business critical process.”

He added that social media such as Twitter and Facebook can make issues very high profile very quickly.

“It’s so easy to order online - withing 24 hours you’ve got the product. The bad experience is when it doesn’t fit and it’s not as sexy and quick to send it back and the customer is saying: ‘You haven’t given me my money back’.”

He said that 70 per cent of customers have said they will change retailers following a bad experience.

Clipper aims to get customers refunded and the product back in stock within 24 hours.

“A retailer cannot have a great website and take money easily from a customer but then have a major disconnect with the returns process where the credit back to a credit card taking days or weeks,” said Mr Parkin.

“In just a few years we have moved from ‘please allow 28 days for delivery’ to ‘I expect it tomorrow – the returns process needs to be equally slick.”

Clipper’s said the returns process is now measured in hours not days/weeks for the UK’s largest on-line players.

Mr Parkin was speaking as Clipper, whose shares have nearly trebled since an IPO last year, announced a 27 per cent rise in revenue to £141.5m in the six months to October 31.

​Pre-tax profit rose 53 per cent to £5.5m and the group is raising the dividend by 25 per cent to 2p.

Clipper said it had seen strong organic growth on existing contracts complemented by new contract wins.

Clipper has recently won a number of new contracts and extensions including John Lewis, Zara, Pepkor and Philip Morris​.​

“We have a very strong pipeline of new opportunities and we are working on a number of large contracts that are delivering,” said Clipper’s founder Mr Parkin.

“The pipeline has never been as strong. We are busy as hell.”

The group said it is gearing up for a strong Christmas.

“This autumn has been very slow for fashion - the weather has been too warm, but pent up demand will hit the stores.

“I think Christmas will come for the retailers,” said Mr Parkin.