Returns processing for a Swiss premium brand

Returns processing for a Swiss premium brand

The On brand needs no introduction these days. Founded in Zurich (Switzerland) in 2010, the company sells sports shoes and sportswear in over 60 countries and now also competes with the big players Adidas and Nike. The premium running shoes can now be found in around 10,000 stores in stores and online, as well as in On’s own online store. For returns processing, the company in Switzerland relies on a customer-friendly premium solution from MS Direct in line with its brand.

At the beginning of On there was an idea, an ambitious goal and… Garden hoses. Former top athlete Olivier Bernhard experimented with a shoe that is designed to give a completely new running sensation. To do this, he glued pieces of garden hose to the outer hollow of a prototype – with great success. In March 2010, the On prototype won the ISPO Brandnew Award. The brand was born and has been conquering the premium sports market ever since. The brand is also being worn more and more often in competitive sports – millions of athletes around the world already rely on On shoes. The brand is characterized on the market in particular by product quality, high innovative strength, ecological business models and sophisticated marketing. In addition to an extensive dealer network, the brand also relies on a strong online presence.

The high quality requirements for its own products are also reflected in On’s logistics processes. Particular attention is paid to a detailed preparation process, especially when processing returns. Their approach: every reconditioned item that is to be resold must look the same as if it had just come out of production. On has been relying on MS Direct solutions since 2023.

On’s company headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland (Image: Richnerstutz)

How does returns processing work?

As an expert in returns processing in Switzerland, MS Direct processes over 13,000 items for numerous online stores every day. With this quantity, items that are dirty, worn or can no longer be assigned are always returned. This is why returns at MS Direct undergo a detailed process that meets the highest quality requirements tailored to the needs of the respective online retailer or brand and enables the fastest possible customer relief.

With MS Direct, Swiss end customers return their items to a Swiss address. This means no customs formalities and no additional costs for foreign shipments. Once they arrive at the returns center, the returns are recorded in the digital returns tool and then checked for completeness. If a qualification is required, the individual items are also inspected for wear and tear or other defects.

Clarification case

A dispute always arises if the return has a quantitative or qualitative defect. Classic defects include, for example

  • A declared article is missing
  • An item other than the one declared was returned
  • The goods are returned dirty, worn or damaged

In such cases, MS Direct records the problem and contacts the online retailer. The process is purely digital. The online retailer is sent the dispute cases with a description and photo using the dispute case tool. They can then decide on further measures themselves in the tool. With this approach, clarification cases can be processed around 50 percent more efficiently by streamlining communication between all parties to a minimum.

The challenge

As a supplier of premium sports shoes, quality and a positive product experience are On’s top priorities. This customer promise was reflected in the high demands placed on returns processing. All customers should receive a premium product in premium condition at all times. Returned items and their packaging must therefore undergo a particularly detailed qualification and preparation process before they can be sold again. On was therefore looking for a partner with many years of experience and established processes that would meet the high quality and efficiency requirements and ultimately opted to work with MS Direct for Switzerland.

«With MS Direct, we have a reliable partner for returns processing. As a provider of premium products, we benefit from the high-quality processing and the efficient and flexible processes.»

Samuel Frei, Head of Operations EMEA bei On

  • Separation of incoming goods by origin channel (B2B e.g. sports stores or D2C)
  • A/BC/D return qualification
  • Extensive product and packaging preparation
  • Recycling processes for specific product lines

The solution

Efficient with digital returns processing

With its own returns tool, MS Direct processes returns quickly and efficiently. Returns are simply scanned and then compared with the details on the screen. The tool guides employees efficiently and step by step through the processing procedure. Once the return has been registered with On, the tool automatically synchronizes all data with On in real time, so that On always has an overview.

Qualification and reprocessing

MS Direct introduced a four-stage product classification for the qualitative inspection in accordance with On’s specifications. Returns are assigned to a category after a detailed visual inspection and processed differently depending on the classification.


The On shoes in the CyclonTM are made of recyclable material and can be returned after a certain number of kilometers. With this business model, On is taking a pioneering role in sustainability in the sports sector and proactively reducing waste. Returns from the CyclonTM product range are sorted at MS Direct into separate recycling containers for later recycling.

In addition to the shoes, the shoe boxes also go through a predefined recycling cycle. The cardboard packaging is handed over to a recycling partner, who passes the cardboard on to a packaging design service provider after processing. From there, the new packaging is returned to the fulfillment location.


In both fulfillment and returns processing, efficiency is the key to lower processing costs and higher processing volumes. In its more than 45 years of existence, MS Direct has already successfully established and optimized many processes and thus offers its customers highly efficient services at the highest quality level. MS Direct makes the experience gained and lessons learned available to its employees via a digital platform, thus ensuring the transfer of expertise and continuous further development.

  • Digital recording tool
  • A/BC/D qualification
  • Specially equipped processing stations for product preparation
  • Recycling collection point for recyclable materials
  • Qualified personnel who are constantly being developed further

The Benefits

With the comprehensive solution from MS Direct, On benefits from flexible and efficient returns processing at a very high quality level. Thanks to fast data synchronization, the premium retailer has an overview of returns at all times. And end customers benefit by receiving the best product quality at all times, regardless of whether the product comes directly from production or returns processing.

  • Efficient manufacturing processes
  • Product preparation at the highest quality level
  • Keeping the brand promise
  • Satisfied customers thanks to quality assurance