In order to reduce costs and increase customer satisfaction, retailers need to take a more detailed look at why returns happen and what are the options for dealing with them. Return rates are escalating as e-commerce increases – set to rise to an estimated $550 billion by 2020, up 75.2% from 2016. Learning to handle returns more intelligently can become both a competitive advantage and a direct boon to the bottom line. In both bricks-and-mortar and e-commerce scenarios, gathering better data can help reduce returns by establishing the exact reasons for returns – for example, inadequate packaging or defective products, rather than a customer simply changing their mind. It also increases the options for managing returned items’ re-entry into the supply chain, trimming losses. In the case of pure e-tail, where contact with the customer is limited, a friendly returns process greatly enhances the overall shopping experience, boosting consumer confidence and future sales. In fact, a data-smart, more holistic approach to returns can deliver immediate reductions in return rates of five percent, with further gains over time. This report gives insight and guidelines for improving retailers return processes using data-handling techniques, including tips from the world’s biggest retailer — Walmart.