How to Leverage Self-Service Returns Kiosks During the Post-Pandemic Surge

By Aila Staff

January 6, 2021

Retail returns have historically been a hands-on, close-contact process for major retailers. Especially in the post-holiday spike, returns can cause bottlenecks at the front of the store and at service desks that are already difficult to manage. Add in the obstacle of social distancing lines and returns become a major problem. Returns kiosks can help alleviate some of the stress on retailers’ systems.

In-store returns doubled this holiday season

The busiest time of the year for returns is in the days and weeks after Christmas. A recent report found that returns could be double the amount that retailers are used to handling. All those extra returns put added stress on employees and shoppers alike. 

Returns kiosks attended by an employee can help lessen the load on overburdened return systems.

Returns kiosks help streamline in-store operations

Retailers have used automation to handle traffic fluctuations for many years now with the introduction of tools like self-checkout kiosks. 

In a similar manner, returns kiosks offer a glimpse of what a streamlined and socially distant and contact-free returns process could look like. 

Rent the Runway, a digital native brand that has since established itself in the world of brick-and-mortar retail provides one case study of how that might work. 

retail returns kiosk rent the runway

Learning from today’s most innovative brands

The Rent the Runway returns system lets shoppers enter any participating location—such as WeWork or Nordstrom—to quickly drop off items, unassisted, in order to receive their next rental. 

This works by letting shoppers scan the tiny barcodes on the items they rent. They then drop their return into the bin for processing later. 

This process easily translates to self-service returns for other retailers, especially those dealing with smaller items and clothing. Customers can scan a barcode either on their return receipt or on their smartphone to process the returns. 

returns kiosk fleet rent the runway

Aila’s self-service returns kiosks make the process even easier

Modular solutions, like the Interactive Kiosk from Aila, can be mounted to a range of surfaces and be placed nearly anywhere in the store. 

Further, they can utilize payment attachments and credit card readers so that returns customers can swipe their card to apply the credit to their account. 

A future-proofed returns kiosk can do more than process returns

While in the short term retailers may be focused on handing returns as accurately and efficiently as possible, over the long term it pays off to have technology that is versatile and able to adapt to changing needs. 

 Aila’s Interactive Kiosk, paired with your iOS-friendly software can help customers manage their loyalty account, view personalized offers, check out, and more. 

Get the Rent the Runway case study to see how Aila makes returns seamless and easy:

Get the Case Study

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