Jo Swinson joins Clear Returns as Non-Executive Director

Jo Swinson

 

Clear Returns appoints ex Government Minister, Jo Swinson, as Non-Exec Board Director

September, 2015 – Glasgow, UK – Leading retail returns intelligence solution, Clear Returns, today announced the appointment of former Business Minister, Jo Swinson, to its board as a Non-Executive Director.

Clear Returns, a predictive analytics service, was founded to help retailers prevent and minimise product returns, by enabling customers to keep more of what they buy.  Its intuitive use of data allows retailers to predict, identify and act upon high returning products and the triggers behind what is making them prone to refunds.  This means retailers can reduce the margin drain of returns and model their profits more accurately.

As a former Minister in the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, Jo brings extensive insight across the key areas which underpin Clear Returns’ business, including marketing, consumer affairs and fulfilment.

Having driven change across the competition landscape, corporate governance, customer rights and postal services during her ministerial tenure, Jo is well placed to advise on key challenges facing businesses and shoppers, and how Clear Returns’ innovative data analysis can provide solutions.  As an architect of the 2015 Consumer Rights Act and the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2014, which extended consumers’ rights to return goods bought online, Jo brings an inherent understanding of the problems product returns create both for shoppers and retailers.

Commenting on her appointment, Jo said: “The UK is a world leader in ecommerce, with consumers increasingly confident shopping online.  This presents a brilliant opportunity to grow sales, but the increasing rate of product returns represents a hassle factor for consumers and reduced profitability for retailers.  Clear Returns makes it easy for retailers to use returns data to improve business decisions.  Better targeted marketing and early identification of problem products will enable companies to reduce unnecessary costs and be more responsive to their customers.”

Julie Ashworth, Chairperson at Clear Returns said: “As we look to grow the business further, it was important that our next appointment to the Board brought both sound industry insight and strong business acumen, alongside marketing and PR experience.  Jo brings all this and more; no stranger to dealing with the very issues that shape industries, she will be an asset as our business looks to help retailers cut the £400billion problem that returns presents to the retail sector globally. We are delighted to be working with her in her role as a Non-Executive Director to the board.”

____________

 

About Clear Returns

Clear Returns enables retailers to cut the growing cost of customer returns, currently running at an average of 30% of multichannel orders in women’s fashion.

Our advanced data intelligence can detect problematic returns before they escalate into a serious cost-draining issue, enabling retailers to take preventative action. We don’t rely on historic data to analyse what went wrong after the event.

Through our solution, retailers can not only identify why customers return goods, but make changes in their product marketing, order management and fulfilment processes that ensure customers keep more of what they buy

Our award winning returns intelligence platform merges key data from ecommerce, stores, and warehouse systems to provide a consolidated and predictive view of the impact of returns on overall performance, along with prioritised, actionable outcomes. This means marketing, customer service, content management and even buying and discounting decisions can be based on intelligence that will grow ‘keeps’ and therefore grow profits.

 

For further press information, please contact Sarah Stevens at Fieldworks Marketing on:

sarah.stevens@fieldworksmarketing.co.uk +44 (0) 1892 786 914

 

Posted by / September 28, 2015 / Posted in News

Returns & why they should be on the retail CSR agenda

It really pains me, and I know it pains many people, to see the sheer amount of packaging and waste that goes into a delivery of a product ordered online.

I realise there’s a trade-off between the amount of packaging in the box and the quality of it on arrival. You don’t want to compromise on the packaging to the extent that the delivery arrives damaged, so it’s safer to over-package.  But of course, that has a huge cost and environmental impact.

These hidden social costs are even extreme when there is a return involved.  E-commerce returns for fashion in the UK average 30%. They can exceed 60% in Germany. You’ve got the customer opening all of this, so the packaging is very rarely in a condition that can be reused or salvaged for a future despatch. Not only that, if there is a return in that package, the shopper is going to be repackaging or bundling it up to go back in a van to go back to a warehouse where it’s got to be opened, cleaned, repackaged and finally made re-available for sale. That may involve it having to be transported to a different warehouse or back to store.

There’s potentially a significant loss of margin in that process. Packaging, road miles, you know, environmental impact, social impact all the way through this process of a return, yet alone the business impact from things like reduced margin, poor customer experience, and impact on profitability.

CSR and returns

It is this aspect of the social, economic impact, environmental impact of a return that both the shopper and the business are failing to give adequate consideration.

I believe a retailer serious about its CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) will be arguing to the rest of its organisation, arguing to the board, ideally even educating some of the customer base, that returns at their current level are not sustainable. You are not doing anybody a favour –  including the customer when you are incentivising them to return and shop with the intention of returning  – because there are all these hidden costs.

These hidden costs are not necessarily borne by the retailer. They’re not necessarily borne solely by the shopper but they are ultimately borne societally. The cost of a van going two or three times to deliver a parcel because customers are frequently out, the cost of then picking that parcel up from the post office, or from the customer, back to a central warehouse, the cost of all the stuff that’s going on at the central warehouse, the product then being shipped by road to another warehouse where it gets back into the supply chain. The cost of buying more stock than required, simply to keep availability due to the sheer amount of stock out on loan.  And the waste involved in packaging and re-packing the same item time after time.

Potential impact on consumer behaviour

It is common to see returns having  a £30+ cost associated with them and that’s just direct costs of the handling, delivery and packaging, let alone externalities of environmental impact and waste. What I would like to see is organisations like John Lewis, Marks & Spencer’s and IKEA, who’ve been very forward in talking about CSR, environmental impacts and how they’re doing ethical sourcing, to also start talking about ethical returning.

Incentivising people to buy more and more, and return more and more is not, in my view, sustainable or ethical, and I think if the shopper was more aware of how much product goes literally into landfill, the r0ad miles generated, how much packaging goes to waste, how much stock gets cleared off the jobbers for disposal at a fraction of the cost price – they would be concerned and they would probably look at their own returning decisions.

Focussing the CSR agenda to include returns

I work in this industry, I’m obsessed with the data and I’m aware of what’s happening – but very, very few people are. So, it’s really important to me that returns get on the agenda of corporate social responsibility and that this is one of the things that CSR directors and retailers are talking about in the coming years.

Because returns at this level are not sustainable for anybody, not at business level, not on an environmental level and not at a wider society level.

Clear Returns build up to Customer Returns Summit 2015

Clear Returns CEO, Vicky Brock, discusses her attendance at the 2015 Customer Returns Summit in London on the 21st-23rd September.

Building on the success of 2014, The Customer Returns Summit is back for 2015 and is bringing together the most senior reverse logistics experts from leading retailers that include Debenhams, Shop Direct, Tesco, Panasonic, Argos, Sony and more. Clear Returns is pleased to be a sponsor at the event in 2015.

Clear Returns, CEO, Vicky Brock on why this is a significant event in the retail calendar:

“I think it’s incredibly important that there’s a retail industry event focused on what I believe is the biggest challenge for retail right now, particularly distance selling retail like e-commerce and TV shopping.

Returns globally is a £425 billion problem, £221 billion of which have been identified as preventable, which means if the retailers do something about it, if marketing is tackled, if customer processes/delivery is tackled, there is £221 billion worth of additional retained revenue on the table for retail profits.

Clear Returns are the industry leader in returns intelligence. It’s an absolute no-brainer for us to be there. Our absolute specialism and remit is that we help retailers identify, tackle and ultimately, prevent returns, and we do that by looking at the products, the customers, the marketing and the service processes that are driving up return rates, and more importantly, the interplay of those things.

Clear Returns are delighted to be attending the Customer Returns Summit once again and are looking forward to discussing many key aspects of developing customer experience and retail profitability in a multichannel retail context.  We look forward to meeting others in the retail and supply chain who have reducing returns to a manageable level on their corporate agenda.”

Returns kill retail profits. Clear Returns offers a pro-active solution. So, why not get in touch?

Contact Us HERE

OR

Email: info@clearreturns.com
Phone: 01415544175

cr_logo

Clear Returns at IBM Big Data & Analytics event

Clear Returns are delighted to announce that our head data scientist, Regina Berengolts, will be speaking at the IBM Big Data & Analytics event which takes place at the IBM Innovation Centre in Winchester on the 23rd-24th September.

This event will focus on gaining a competitive advantage in your sector using big data and analytics techniques. Regina will be talking about her previous experience and the direction she believes big data is heading in the coming months and years.

For more information on this unmissable event, please contact KMennie@uk.ibm.com

Posted by / August 18, 2015 / Posted in News