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Online retail sales in the US have grown three times faster than total retail sales in the last five years. The formula for success is becoming more complex as more customers choose to buy online.

by MIT Sloan Management Review
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

Retailers need to manage returns that can be as high as 30% in such a way that they retain customer loyalty. The rule of thumb is to create a simple and easy way for customers to send back products they don't want and to get their refund to them as quickly as possible.

Some retailers use specialist companies to manage 'reverse logistics'. Bricks-and-mortar companies can give customers the option of returning a product to a local store. To tackle distribution, some companies use their suppliers; others outsource it to specialists.

Retailers also need to ensure their product inventories are deployed across the network in such a way that they deliver the best cost and service combination.

Critical issues in internet retailing,
Timothy M Laseter, Elliot Rabinovich, Kenneth K Boyer and M Johnny
MIT Sloan Management Review, Spring 2007

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