20 September, 2020

Reverse Logistics: A Business Of Goods On Way Back

No-hassle return policies of e-commerce ­portals open up a new sector: reverse logistics

Workers refurbish returned goods at Yaantra, Delhi.
Photograph by Jitender Gupta
Reverse Logistics: A Business Of Goods On Way Back

When the dress arrives from Amazon, it’s a size too big. The shoes from Flipkart or Snapdeal bite a bit. The mangoes you ordered from Big Basket or Grofers are not the variety you wanted. You can easily return the stuff—all online e-commerce portals have return or exc­hange schemes. And now, this is big business.

It’s called ‘reverse logistics’ and it is engaging not just young entrepreneurs, but also providing gainful employment across the country. While ‘forward logistics’ means shipment of products to a customer, reverse logistics is the collection of goods from the buyer and delivery to the vendor for return or exchange. Sometimes, it also involves refurbishing the product and prepping  it for resale.

Take 23-year-old Mohamad Kamran, a commerce graduate from a college in Bihar’s Samastipur district. He reaches office around 8 am every day and picks up a list of addresses along with a bagful of packets to deliver. In 2018, having been unable to get a job despite his best efforts for a year and fed up with...



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