Today our life revolves around online shopping, and the pandemic has become a significant hike. As per Statista, the UK’s eCommerce market is expected to hit a revenue of US$ 285.56 billion in 2025.
But do you know what? 99% of eCommerce stores own up to failed deliveries across some portion of their orders, while 24% admit more than 1 in 10 orders are less likely to deliver on the first attempt.
And, what’s the reason behind this?
The reason is that return to origin (RTO) occurs when a shipper or courier decides to send items back to the seller rather than attempting delivery again. It means that you got your ordered goods but sometimes it gets returned, thus creating problems for both customer and eCommerce store owner.
And to reduce this unnecessary cost and time, we have come up with a list of 5 tips.
Tips to Reduce RTO
1. Real-time Tracking
Tracking your order online in real time is one of the best ways to reduce RTO. Having access to the same data that courier or shipping company employees do will help you keep a better eye on your package’s progress through the shipping process.
You can do this by using advanced shipping software integrated with the courier or shipping partner’s APIs to offer real-time tracking data.
For e.g., NimbusPost has a real-time tracking feature that updates the status of your shipment as soon as an update occurs and sends you notifications on those changes.
Below are the best ways of keeping track of your order :
- Using the tracking number provided by the courier partner
- Using the official website of the courier or shipping partner
- Contacting customer support to know the status
- Using smartphone apps compatible with the tracking service
2. On-Time Delivery
Most courier companies are trying hard to reduce the return-to-origin (RTO) in logistics by offering on-time shipments. So always prefer to select a reliable and trusted courier or shipping company that delivers on time with the least transit time for selling goods.
Various factors determine a shipping company’s transit time, such as service type, home delivery area, local pickup schedule, and so forth.
You can ensure on-time delivery in the following ways:
- Opting for a fast delivery option during checkout
- Confirming the recipient’s availability before you place your order
- Selecting a ship-from location that’s close to the recipient’s address
- Shipping with a reputable shipping company
- Make sure to follow standard business hours and local holidays
3. Safe Delivery
Some customers may not be comfortable with the idea of giving access to their home addresses to a delivery person or courier company. Therefore, opting for ‘safe drop-off’ like office locations can work as a good RTO reduction technique.
This way, you can verify the identity of the courier company and delivery person and keep your items under safe custody until someone is home.
Follow these practices to provide a safe delivery:
- Ask for a signature upon delivery
- Share the tracking number and shipment details with a family member or trusted neighbour along with their contact information (in case you can’t reach them)
- Ship to office address instead of home, if possible, especially when it’s an expensive item.
E.g., NimbusPost gives you the option of choosing between ‘Office Drop’ and ‘Home Delivery,’ thus allowing you to decide on an appropriate safe drop-off location for your item.
Transparency is essential for businesses and customers because it builds trust, thus reducing the Return-to-Origin rate.
You can display real-time tracking data on product pages or order confirmations to help your customers keep track of their shipment until it reaches them.
You can also provide a return policy and product warranty information to strengthen the level of trust among your customers. Return policies help customers understand what they should do if their shipment fails to reach on time, becomes damaged, or gets lost in transit. It will increase consumer confidence and reduce RTO in logistics.
Following are the best transparency practices that you can adopt :
- Sending a shipment tracking number as soon as the order is shipped. E.g., NimbusPost sends a shipment tracking number via email and SMS as soon as the order is shipped so that you can track your shipment in real-time.
- Displaying RTO reduction features on product pages or order confirmations including “Ship from store,” “Ship from reputed 3PL warehouse”, etc.
- Maintaining RTO reduction policies like Return/ Replacement Policy, Flexible Return & Refund Policy, etc.
- Sharing Return to Origin status updates with customers at every stage
- Providing Return-to-Origin related policies and guarantees on the website, product page, and during the checkout process.
- Reporting Return-to-Origin issues and making sure to refund the entire amount to the customer if Return-to-Origin (RTO) order occurs.
5. Time-slot Selection and Other Delivery Preferences
Customers can choose a time slot that suits them for delivery during checkout to help reduce Return to Origin in logistics. They can also opt for a preferred delivery time, day, and date to help the shipping company deliver the product at a specific time.
E.g., NimbusPost offers an option of choosing a preferred delivery time during checkout, thus helping customers choose a time slot that suits them; it also allows choosing between ‘Morning,’ ‘Noon,’ and ‘Night’ delivery slots during checkout.
You can incentivize your customers for providing their preferred RTO reduction preferences like:
- Providing RTO-related loyalty programs that help customers earn Return-to-Origin credits.
- Allowing RTO preferences to be shared on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, etc., can help you reach a wider audience and help reduce Return to Origin in logistics.
So, that’s all about RTO in logistics and its reduction practices. RTO is inevitable under certain conditions like shipping delays, wrong shipping address, and incorrect billing information, but by following some reduction practices, you can reduce Return to origin issues.
By following the tips mentioned above, you can reduce the percentage of return-to-origin orders by improving transparency, time slot selection, RTO policies, safe delivery practices, etc.