Omnichannel: A logistical double-edged sword?

Amongh the challenges facing retailers as they try to convert to an omnichannel model, what do they do with the products that customers order online but return to their stores? Here’s a thought, borrowed from a recent RetailWire panel discussion on the subject:

As stores strive for more omnichannel integration, it becomes a double-edged sword when customers return goods to brick-and-mortar locations that are only carried online. (And this is true for most retailers, who don’t have the space for the breadth of assortment they can offer on their websites.) What happens to this merchandise, which was never planogrammed and will simply clog the aisles with more clearance?

Kohl’s is testing a concept (“Off Aisle”) intended to absorb this merchandise but is rolling it out slowly. Obviously it’s an issue that most national retailers with liberal return policies need to deal with more aggressively.


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