Efficient returns processing

Efficient returns processing

In the dynamic world of e-commerce, customer-oriented and cost-efficient returns management plays a decisive role. The logistics behind returns processing are like an art form that is easily underestimated. With its impressive experience of over 45 years, MS Direct has in-depth know-how in setting up efficient and customer-friendly processing procedures for returns. In this blog, we take a look behind our successful model.

Successful returns set-up

At MS Direct, efficient returns processing is more than just a service – it is an integral part of our fulfillment and cross-border offering. Our aim is to create a smooth interface that not only offers efficient communication channels between the store and the service provider, but also enables returns to be processed in line with requirements.

1. Returns portal

The returns portal is the foundation of efficient returns processing. MS Direct offers its own modern tool for this purpose, which enables an efficient control workflow. However, if the customer already has an established returns portal, this can also be used.

2. Returns registration

Returns registration is the cornerstone of efficient returns processing. Together with the customer, we develop solutions for the registration process and define the reasons for data entry to be mapped in the system. Whether digitally via a customer account or with a returns slip, we adapt to the customer’s requirements and thus ensure efficient collection processes.

3. Processing process

The processing of returns at MS Direct is as individual as the needs of the customer. From a simple check of the goods to qualification and finishing, we do everything we can to meet your expectations. If qualification is required, we work with the customer to define the product classes, all processing steps and the guidelines for any finishing measures and clarification cases.

4. Data exchange & refund

Another decisive factor is the timing of the refund. Depending on your preferences, the refund can be made immediately after the inspection or only after a quality check. MS Direct supports you in choosing the optimal path.

5. Volume of returns

A realistic forecast of the volume of returns is crucial for optimal planning of personnel and logistics. MS Direct’s flexible personnel planning makes it possible to be prepared for unexpected peak times.

6. logistics

Cost-efficient logistics is the backbone of successful returns management. From the choice of carrier to collection periods and customs clearance – we find the best solution for your needs.

Reading tip: Find out more about how you can increase your success with returns management.

How efficient returns processing works

MS Direct’s returns processing includes the following services:

  • Returns address in Switzerland, Germany and Great Britain
  • Incoming goods & sorting
  • Returns inspection & qualification
  • Returns processing
  • Clarification case processing
  • Refund processing
  • Restocking (fulfillment customers)
  • Disposal & Recycling
  • Ready-for-sale shipment to the central warehouse (cross-border customers)

Our customers choose the scope of the service provided themselves. Depending on your needs, we offer different packages ranging from simple returns processing to complex processing with clarification.

Returns address

MS Direct has returns processing centres in Switzerland, Germany and the UK. Depending on where your warehouse is located, we process your returns locally in the countries with customs borders or in the EU in Germany. Your advantage: depending on the carrier you choose, you will be named as the recipient on the return label. Our returns processing centres have their own PO box number, behind which the actual address is stored.

The MS Direct Returns Center in St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Incoming goods and sorting

As soon as we receive returns, they are sorted by store – if not already handled by the carrier – and distributed from there to the workstations. We operate our own processing stations for the respective stores, which are linked to the customer’s store system, have all the necessary equipment and are operated by specially trained staff. Returns are processed by MS Direct on a daily basis, which also enables customers to be relieved within 24 hours of receipt of the return. Depending on the interface, our customers receive our processing data on a daily basis or in real time.

Reading tip: Find out more about how we process returns from the Swiss premium sports brand On.

An MS Direct employee sorting incomming returns by customer.

Returns processing

MS Direct’s processing stations are equipped in such a way that our employees can carry out all actions and operations efficiently. In addition, individual employees are assigned to specific customers and trained to meet their needs. This is how we ensure high-quality workmanship. At the processing station, our employees take care of the entire processing procedure: from recording, testing and qualification through to refinement and repackaging.

Recording: The printed returns barcode or R number is used to record the return quickly and easily within a few seconds.

Fast registration with barcode scanning.

Check: Our employees open the parcel and compare the information on the packaging label or the returns tool with the label on the products. If the details do not match, a clarification case is triggered.

Qualification: We also offer our customers the option of quality testing and qualification. In this step, the returned item is checked for damage or signs of wear. Depending on its condition, the item is categorized in a predefined level system. The A/B/C classification, for example, is common. Depending on the stage and type of article, a different further processing step follows.

The MS Direct returns processing tool enables an efficient workflow.

Refurbishment: If the customer wishes to have their returns refurbished, this service can be added to the basic package. During processing, the customer decides which items have to be refurbished and how. From cleaning, ironing and repackaging with new materials, many things are possible.

Clarification case processing

A dispute always arises if the return has a quantitative or qualitative defect. These include, for example, missing items in the parcel, incorrect declarations when registering returns or qualitative defects due to soiling, wear or damage. If the store provider requests a clarification check, we will contact them via our clarification tool. The store provider will receive a description and a photo of the defect. The provider can use the tool to quickly and easily decide on further measures. This approach enables MS Direct to process clarification cases around 50 percent more efficiently.

The MS Direct clarification tool enables efficient communication between the shop owner and the service provider.

Refund processing

Once the return has been successfully processed, the refund is automatically triggered. Depending on the system and interface used, the processing data is synchronized either in real time or on a daily basis. Coupled with the promise that returns will be processed within 24 hours of receipt, end customers ultimately benefit from a refund within a few days of the returns package being dispatched. The time of reimbursement can also be specified.

  • After processing: As soon as the return has been processed and no defects have been found, the refund will be initiated.
  • After storage: The refund will only be made after the goods have been successfully returned to the warehouse or central warehouse.

Recycling & Disposal

Unfortunately, in rare cases, items are returned in a condition that precludes resale. In the case of textiles, it is often possible to donate or revalue them if they are slightly worn. In the event of damage or worse signs of wear and tear, however, items must be recycled or destroyed. At MS Direct, however, this rate is less than one percent.


For fulfillment customers, MS Direct also takes care of ready-to-ship restocking in one of our warehouses. After processing, the processed returns are packed back into their shipping containers and stored in the warehouse with the other items. They are now ready for sale again.

Special features in cross-border business

Many cross-border customers now rely on local returns processing. This means that they send goods across the border from their central warehouse in the EU, but have returned goods processed by a service provider in the respective country before they are sent back to the central warehouse. End customers can simply send their returns to a domestic address, which means that returns are processed more quickly. This in turn offers the advantage that the refund can be initiated much earlier – a plus for the store’s customer experience.

MS Direct also offers a returns service to cross-border customers. In this case, the returns are not stored at the end of the processing procedure, but are prepared for transportation back to the warehouse. A transporter then collects the palletized returns at a previously defined interval and delivers them back across the border. MS Direct also takes care of customs formalities and any customs refunds to the store – automatically and digitally.

Can we help with your returns solution? In its more than 45 years of existence, MS Direct has continuously optimized its processes for its customers. Today, we are the expert for fulfillment, cross-border and returns in Switzerland. Would you also like to open up new lucrative markets with your store? We support you and set up the right processes for your needs so that you can concentrate on your core business. Our processes and infrastructure are flexible so that, if successful, they can scale with your increasing requirements. We look forward to accompanying you on your path to success.