Full-featured Returns Management System

  • Advanced web system for reselling returned goods
  • Seamless integration with partner systems
  • Consistent and contemporary user experience
Expertise
eCommerce
Verticals
Retail

Our Customer came up with an idea of launching a specialized service that would enable its clients – retailers – resale returned goods on-site instead of sending them back to the storage facilities. The task was to develop a robust web system that would act as an intermediary between retailers, shipping services, warehouses and resellers, optimizing and accelerating the returns management process.

Calendar
12
Duration
Months
Gears
22
Efforts
Person-months

Context

Every retailer or wholesaler faces the daunting challenge of managing product returns. In order to build stronger relationships with clients and create an opportunity to recover value from the reverse flow of goods, it is essential to establish an effective returns management policy.

Even though today the market is teemed with diverse software solutions for returns management, most of them suggest forwarding returned products back to the seller. It causes inconvenience to both clients and sellers: clients spend weeks waiting for their refund (especially if the seller is located abroad), whilst sellers suffer losses on international shipping and overstock.

Iflexion task was to develop a robust /eCommerce solution that would act as an intermediary between retailers, shipping services, warehouses and resellers, optimizing and accelerating the returns management process.

Solution

Leveraging its profound domain and technology experience, Iflexion built a custom solution that streamlines the entire process of managing returned goods by automating the following activities:

  • Creation of requests for product return, online payments and mailing label acquiring
  • Selection of a warehouse for product storage and dispatch
  • Setting the price of product resale depending on grade and predefined business rules
  • Report generation for returns, stock and resale

Key features

The delivered system consists of two major functional parts – Returns Portal and Admin Area.

Returns Portal provides a simple user-friendly interface to make the process of returning purchases as fast and easy as possible for the end users. To view orders and choose items to return, a user has to enter the order number and the ZIP code. After having explained the reason for the return, the user can download a mailing label with the warehouse address already filled (it is assigned automatically by the system). The only thing left to do is attaching the label to the parcel and sending it to the warehouse from any post office.

Admin Area is designed for internal users, including the Customer’s employees, retailers and resellers. Depending on the user role, it provides for the following functionality:

  • Customer’s employees are able to:
    • Create new users and register retailer and reseller companies
    • Set resale prices for each retailer depending on product category, type or brand
    • Set rules for grading goods (A, B, C, D) at the warehouses
    • Set specific business rules, for instance, action sequence depending on the product grade (i.e. A – resale by a retailer or a reseller, B – resale by a reseller, C – resale by a retailer, D – utilization)
    • Assign warehouses for the returns coming from a particular country
    • View product database and stock of each retailer
    • View status of the returned goods
    • Set FTP files for exchanging data with 3rd-party systems
  • Retail employees have an access to the list of product returns, stock in storage for each warehouse, as well as business rules
  • Reseller employees are able to view stock and sales data

Development Process

Entrusted with the full-cycle solution delivery, Iflexion team was engaged in the full cycle of the project development, including business analysis, development, integration, testing, and maintenance and support. To keep the Customer abreast of project progress, our team had weekly calls with the Customer and their team, as well as presented reports and demo-versions on a regular basis.

Third-party integrations

To embrace the whole process of handling returns and so provide users with advanced functional capabilities wrapped into a single platform, the solution was to support integration with a number of services offered by third-party providers, including retailers, warehouses and many others. Applying RestSharp, SOAP, Web API and a number of other tools, our specialists developed a set of custom APIs to enable interaction with third-party systems. As a result, the solution is smoothly integrated with the following automated systems:

  • Warehousing system that allows transferring information on product returns to the storage facilities, estimating the goods arrived for temporary storage, tracking outgoing shipments etc.
  • Reseller system for managing data on product amount, cost, grade, as well as resale details
  • Payment system that processes customer payments for product return/consignment
  • Logistics system to forward delivery orders to courier services and track shipments
  • Mailing system allowing sending emails with the description of delivery & returns policies to the users

Technologies

Since the required solution was to process large data sets daily, our architects had to ensure the system supported parallel processing and was easy to scale. That is what made us choose Microsoft Azure and its products, including VM, Azure SQL, Azure web Sites and Application Insights, as a platform for the project implementation. The system presentation layer was built using ASP.NET MVC 5, JQuery, Bootstrap, HTML5 and CSS/LESS, which allowed for a fresh and simple user interface. Azure SQL and Entity Framework 6 formed the persistence layer, while C# was utilized for the business logic layer development.

Results

Having showcased its professional development skills, Iflexion delivered a comprehensive solution for managing product returns. With its rich and convenient functionality the implemented solution automates an array of processes involved with handling returned goods, starting from creating requests up to setting prices and generating resale reports. Our team also seamlessly integrated the solution with partner systems, making it a one-stop-shop for full-cycle returns management to the Customer’s genuine satisfaction.

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