Undeliverable shipments are more than just irritating. Returns are a relevant cost factor in ecommerce and a cause for customer dissatisfaction. Find out how retail outlet routing can help you considerably reduce your return rate, while protecting the environment, saving costs, and increasing customer satisfaction.
Regardless of how high or low your goods turnover is, shipped items that come back as undeliverable are always an annoying and unnecessary cost factor. Every returned item means twice the work, repeated shipping costs, additional transport that harms the environment, and – not least – dissatisfied customers. There are many reasons why shipments come back, and most of them are out of merchants’ control.
Why do shipments actually come back? Here are some examples:
Recipient’s name doesn’t appear on the bell or mailbox
Building, unit, street, or house number can’t be identified
Access to the building is restricted
Recipient has moved
Name or address is written incorrectly
Reduce costs and increase customer satisfaction
If the delivery agent can’t locate the recipient, any second attempt to deliver the parcel will also fail. Here’s the solution that gives undeliverable parcels a second chance. As a DHL business customer, simply book our retail outlet routing service for every national shipment – whether parcels or merchandise mail (Warenpost). Here’s how you benefit: Retail outlet routing reduces your return rate for shipments with invalid recipients by 64% on average. It’s free to book, and you only pay if you actually need to use the service.
Here’s how to give your shipments a second chance:
Book retail outlet routing for free along with any national shipment – whether a parcel or merchandise mail shipment.
If the shipment cannot be delivered, instead of being sent straight back to you, it will be rerouted to the nearest retail outlet with a parcel collection point. It will remain there for collection for seven working days. Only now are you charged for the service, at a fixed amount per shipment (DHL parcel €1.99/merchandise mail €1.49).
The recipient is notified by email. They can pick up the shipment at the retail outlet by showing the pick-up
So it’s a win-win for you:
The majority of returns are prevented, which means you’re also acting sustainably by avoiding additional transport.
You save costs for returning and resending.
Your customers are happy, because they receive their order as soon as possible.
How you communicate with your customers during the process is up to you. The pick-up notification can be created and sent automatically by DHL, or you can contact the recipient yourself.
Is retail outlet routing worth it and what are the benefits?
How many returns and how much money you save depends on the number of undeliverable shipments and the pick-up rate. On average, 64% of shipments that are rerouted to a retail outlet are picked up. At that rate, with a parcel price of €5, for example, and assuming 500 undeliverable shipments, you’d save more than €1,800. 
Detailed breakdown of this example:
Costs without retail outlet routing
Costs with retail outlet routing
€2,000 return costs for undeliverable shipments
€995 cost of retail outlet routing
€2,500 lost costs of initial shipments in the case of returns
€720 return shipment costs
€4,500 total costs
€900 lost costs of initial shipments in the case of returns
Savings of €1,885
Benefits at a glance
Increased customer satisfaction: Your customers don’t have to wait. The shipment can be picked up conveniently by showing the email at the nearest retail outlet.
Cost savings: As a business customer, you can use retail outlet routing to avoid expensive return shipments as well as costs for returns receipt, customer contact, and renewed shipments. So you can save up to 25%.
Ease of use: You simply add the service to each parcel or merchandise mail shipment. If a shipment is undeliverable, it’s automatically rerouted to the retail outlet and the recipient is notified. Only then are you charged for the service.
Flexible communication: As an alternative to an email notification via DHL, you can contact your customers yourself. That way, you receive all relevant information and have an additional reason to get in touch. This can be an opportunity to reinforce customer retention or update your customer’s address.
Who can use retail outlet routing?
If you’re a DHL business customer with over 200 shipments per year and you send your goods nationally as parcels or merchandise mail, you can simply add retail outlet routing to each shipment.
 Not including internal costs for returns receipt and customer contact.
More on the topic of returns
Looking for more solutions to reduce your returns? In this article, you will find valuable information and 7 smart tips to permanently reduce your return rate.