Returns Handling

Why use RFID for handling returns?

To immediately resell what has just been returned. In general, returns are a normal part of retail, especially with the increase of omnichannel services. At the same time, high return rates have a negative impact on the retailer's profitability. Products are returned from end customers, own stores, or wholesale partners for various different reasons, e.g., seasonal leftovers, product recall due to quality issues, re-allocation due to (locally) changing demand, and end-customers are returning products they had ordered online


Retailers are keen to get returned products back into sellable stock as quickly as possible. At the same time, customers want to get their refund swiftly. However, registering and verifying product returns is labor-intensive, slow, and error-prone since each product needs to be touched, checked, and scanned manually. Due to the complex handling procedures, some retailers run dedicated return centers or outsource the returns process to third-party providers. Since this makes it even slower to get the products back into the sellable stock, the goal is to use the capabilities of existing distribution centers for handling returns and treat all the products within a "single point of stock" without interfering with the regular processes.  


Prevention is better than cure: first and foremost, returns due to delivery errors should be avoided. Here, RFID can help during delivery processes to verify shipments and thus ensure their accuracy automatically.

If it comes to returns, using RFID[1] and the Nedap iD Cloud platform allows for reducing the complexity of handling processes by seamlessly registering products in a box and verifying the read result. This can increase the accuracy and accelerates the time to add the products back to the available stock.

[1] Assumption: returned products need to carry an RFID label. If returns are processed in stores, this can be a prerequisite for sending merchandise back to the warehouse. Also, the end customers can only be asked to return products if they (still) have the label attached.

Business Value

With RFID, it is possible to register returned products quickly so they can be made available again quickly. Furthermore, advanced insights are possible, e.g., analyzing if a product has been actually sold before the return or which products (EPCs) have more than, e.g., two return events.