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Can Automating Return Fulfilment Give Retailers a Competitive Advantage?

According to a recent Shopify report, returns account for an average of 20-30% of online orders, highlighting the upward trend of returns stemming from online sales.1 This shift is leaving retailers seeking ways to meet the volume in a way that doesn’t exacerbate processing costs. The costs associated with managing returns, from processing to restocking to discounting and transportation, add up quickly making it hard for retailers to keep up with the fast, frictionless, “no questions asked” returns that customers expect. It’s no wonder many retailers view returns as a cost of doing business. It’s time for an upgrade on that thinking.

Whether it’s in-store, website visits or clicks, retailers need to optimise every opportunity for customer interactions to make a sale. Returns are no exception. Customers who are returning goods create an opportunity for engagement in a new sale.

Retailers need to automate business operations with better fulfilment options to alleviate the costs of processing returns and deliver the convenience and self-service shoppers expect. Smart large lockers offer a self-service option for customers that will be utilised if it is convenient. Enabling a pick-up and return-to-locker option facilitates shorter check-out lines and maximises staff efficiency.

Introducing Drop Box

The latest addition to the Parcel Pending by Quadient product roster is our fully integrated Drop Box locker with optional Printer solution. This first-of-its-kind solution was developed to suit various use cases with an option for one printer to enhance our existing ability to fulfil returned merchandise through our lockers. The printer enables consumers to print authentic shipping labels from the locker at the drop-off site for returns that need to be routed to other destinations. Return packages are dropped into a collection box to maximise parcel volume while minimising the locker footprint. Our technology captures every step of the return process from start to pick up and can be centrally monitored from our cloud-based locker management system.

All of our solutions are fully integrated with Quadient’s centralised locker management system. Our cloud-based system provides monitoring in real-time, delivering the information retail professionals need when and where it’s needed. Gain key insights from actionable data such as: the amount of time from a return request to drop off, locker availability and usage, track and trace, business intelligence reports, and more.

Parcel Pending by Quadient worked closely with our retail customers and carriers in Europe, the United States and Japan to develop our unique line of Drop Box lockers. Our Drop Box lockers can be added to our existing locker systems or custom configured for new installations to automate fulfilment of returned merchandise.

Automating return fulfilment through Quadient’s smart locker solutions:

  • Provides an attractive return-to-store option that drives added footfall and removes friction from the return process
  • Helps to reduce the time it takes to re-shelve merchandise and minimise discounting
  • Provides convenience-driven consumers with an attractive return-to-store option and sets retailers up to recoup the sale

Make returns a point of competitive distinction to drive additional sales. Learn more about Parcel Pending by Quadient Drop Box lockers.


  1. Dopson, Elise. Ecommerce Returns: Expert Guide to Best Practices. August 25, 2021.