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Article: 10 steps to apply reverse logistics in e-commerce.

10 passos para aplicar a logística reversa no e-commerce.

10 steps to apply reverse logistics in e-commerce.

What is reverse logistics in e-commerce

Reverse logistics is the process of returning products from the consumer to the retailer or manufacturer. This can occur for a variety of reasons, such as regret about the purchase, dissatisfaction with the product or defects. The main objective is to ensure proper disposal, recycling or reuse of returned items.

For example: A consumer buys an electronic item online, but upon receiving it, realizes that it does not meet their expectations. Within the period established by law for the right to withdrawal, which is generally 7 days, the consumer can request a refund.

The retailer is then responsible for coordinating reverse logistics, collecting the product from the customer's home and subsequently deciding whether the product will be repackaged, repaired, reused or recycled in accordance with company policies. This process aims not only to meet consumer rights, but also to promote sustainable waste management practices.

In this article, we will talk about the advantages of reverse logistics in the context of e-commerce, examining its processes and benefits for both companies and the environment.

Types of reverse logistics

Reverse logistics encompasses different processes related to moving products from the consumer back to the manufacturer or retailer. There are several types of reverse logistics, each with specific purposes. Below, I present some of the main types:

  1. Product returns:
    • Refers to the return of products by the consumer due to defects, dissatisfaction or other reasons.
  2. Recycling and reuse:
    • It involves collecting products discarded by consumers for later recycling or reuse. This is especially important for electronic items, packaging and materials that can be reused.
  3. Return of surplus or obsolete products:
    • It relates to the return of products that are discontinued, close to expiry date or no longer in demand.
  4. Return for legal or regulatory reasons:
    • It is related to the return of products due to legal or regulatory requirements. For example, some products may need to be withdrawn from the market due to changes in safety standards.
  5. Remanufacturing:
    • It involves dismantling used products, replacing damaged components, and rebuilding them to return them to the market as refurbished products. This is common in industries such as electronics and automotive.
  6. Post-sales and post-consumer reverse logistics:
    • After-sales refers to the return of unsold products, while post-consumption refers to products used by consumers. Both types aim to manage the efficient return of these items.
  7. Proper disposal:
    • It concerns the final disposal of products that cannot be recycled, reused or remanufactured. It is essential to ensure that disposal is done in an environmentally friendly manner.

Main steps of reverse logistics

Reverse Logistics Stage


1. Return by the Consumer

The consumer returns the product for reasons such as defect, dissatisfaction, or other reasons.

2. Inspection and Assessment

Returned products are inspected to determine whether they are suitable for resale, reconditioning, recycling or proper disposal.

3. Tracking

Creation of efficient systems to track products throughout the reverse logistics process, ensuring transparency and control.

4. Destination decision

Based on the evaluation, it is decided whether the product will be returned to stock, reconditioned, recycled or discarded.

5. Packaging for return

If necessary, products are properly packaged for return, ensuring integrity during transport.

6. Reverse transport

Collection and transportation of returned products to the destination location, whether a distribution center, recycling area or other appropriate facility.

7. Storage and processing

Products are temporarily stored and processed according to their destination, whether for resale, reconditioning, recycling or disposal.

8. Return to stock

Products suitable for resale are returned to stock for future sales.

9. Reconditioning

If necessary, products undergo reconditioning processes to restore their original condition or improve them for resale.

10. Recycling or disposal

Products that cannot be resold are sent for recycling or disposal processes in an environmentally friendly way.

11. Data recording and analysis

Maintaining detailed records for performance analysis and continuous improvement of the reverse logistics process.


These steps represent an extensive cycle that companies adopt to efficiently manage reverse logistics, ensuring both operational and environmental benefits.

Main advantages

1. Customer Satisfaction:

Enabling hassle-free returns and efficient exchange processes creates a positive consumer experience. Transparency and ease in return or exchange operations contribute to building customer trust, promoting brand loyalty. When consumers feel they can resolve problems quickly and efficiently, the likelihood of repeat purchases and recommending the brand to others increases significantly.

2. Cost reduction:

Properly managing returns and restoring products to stock for resale reduces losses related to partially or completely unused merchandise. Additionally, recovering products for reconditioning and resale can generate additional revenue, offsetting the costs associated with reverse logistics.

3. Environmental sustainability:

By facilitating the return of products for recycling, reuse or proper disposal, companies contribute to reducing environmental impact. This is relevant at a time when environmental awareness is on the rise and consumers increasingly value companies committed to sustainable practices.

4. Compliance with regulations:

Many regions have specific regulations related to waste management and sustainable practices. Effective implementation of reverse logistics in e-commerce allows companies to comply with these regulations, avoiding legal penalties and demonstrating corporate responsibility. By complying with these standards, organizations can strengthen their reputation and demonstrate a genuine commitment to social responsibility.

10 steps to apply reverse logistics in your e-commerce

The implementation of reverse logistics in e-commerce requires a strategic and well-planned approach to ensure operational efficiency and meet customer expectations. Here are some key steps to implementing reverse logistics in your e-commerce:

  1. Transparent return policy:
    • Develop and communicate a clear product return and exchange policy. Make sure customers understand the procedures for returning items, including deadlines, return conditions, and refunds.
  2. Make the return process easier:
    • Make the returns process as simple and convenient as possible for customers. Offer multiple communication channels like live chat, email, and phone so customers can easily get in touch with returns.
  3. Efficient systems and processes:
    • Implement returns tracking and management systems that allow you to efficiently track returned products from initial request to final resolution.
  4. Partnerships with transport companies and logistics service providers:
    • Establish partnerships with carriers and logistics service providers that offer solutions for the collection and reverse transportation of returned products.
  5. Evaluation and classification of returned products:
    • Develop processes to evaluate and classify returned products based on their condition and final destination (resale, reconditioning, recycling or disposal).
  6. Reconditioning and repair:
    • Consider reconditioning returned products in good condition for resale. This may involve repairs, cleaning and repackaging products.
  7. Sustainable recycling and disposal:
    • Partner with recycling and waste disposal companies to ensure that products that cannot be resold are recycled or disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner.
  8. Data analysis and continuous improvement:
    • Perform periodic analyzes of data related to reverse logistics to identify trends, patterns and opportunities for improvement. Use this information to continually improve your processes and policies.
  9. Team training:
    • Train your team to handle returns efficiently and professionally. They must be prepared to support customers throughout the returns process and resolve issues quickly and effectively.
  10. Transparent communication with customers:
    • Keep customers informed about the status of their returns and provide regular updates throughout the process.

By implementing these practices, you will be able to establish an effective reverse logistics operation that will add value to your e-commerce, increasing customer satisfaction and promoting sustainable practices.


In short, reverse logistics in Brazilian e-commerce is not just a legal requirement, but a strategic opportunity for companies to improve their operations, promote environmental sustainability and improve the customer experience. By adopting efficient returns management practices, companies can not only meet consumer expectations, but also contribute to a more sustainable consumption cycle.

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