BLACK FRIDAY & CYBER MONDAY: Managing Returns during the Holiday Season

November 25, 2020

In a year of unprecedented societal change, retailers, parcel carriers, and 3PL/ROP platforms brace for the 2020 e-commerce holiday explosion. To cope with extraordinary e-commerce quickening, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are heavily leveraged as front-loaders to reduce December peak volume. Holiday fulfillment strategies should not stop at last-mile delivery, but be expanded to first-mile returns with a reverse logistics solution that alleviates revenue losses with efficient first-level disposition and promotes early consumer returns.

Re-turnz First-Mile Logistics offers a seamless and on-demand consumer process for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers by picking up consumer returns at their doorstep. Meanwhile, retailers and shippers streamline returns, as the Re-turnz service delivers to the most effective disposition location in the logistics network. In doing so, Re-turnz alleviates the holiday returns flood for e-commerce platforms.

The History of Managing & Shaping Consumer Behavior 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday provide retailers and parcel carriers an early window to plan and respond to holiday volume by frontloading demand prior to December peak. Historically, Black Friday has been a strategic calendar event to promote sales and distribute volume purchases weeks before the major holidays. 

As popularity of internet shopping emerged, the National Retail Federation identified a spike in e-commerce shopping on the Monday after Thanksgiving. Now just days after the historical Black Friday, a new shopping event materialized as the perfect pair for Black Friday – coined “Cyber Monday” and tailored to the e-commerce shopper. 

Frontloading Last-Mile Fulfillment with Black Friday and Cyber Monday

In 2020, given the huge spike in e-commerce due to COVID lockdowns, Google, Shopify, and parcel carriers are urging retailers to start promotions a week early to inject November demand that will alleviate December volume. Sales and discounts by Walmart and Target lead the initiative with major carriers echoing this message. For example, FedEx’s “Ship-athon” and UPS’s “pretty peaky peak” incentivize early customer shopping to spread volume and prevent backlogged fulfillment networks during December.

Alleviating Backlogged Returns with Ease-of-Use and Smart Disposition

The nature of gift exchanges drive more returns, with Optoro estimating $100 billion worth of returned goods in the US during the last holiday season. As cited by Optoro via Vogue Business, mass returns volume will become backlogged for a “perfect storm” scenario as companies introduce significant markdowns, free shipping, and lengthy returns windows – culminating into an unprecedented returns flood 4 – 6 weeks after the initial peak (Think of UPS National Returns Day as consumers delay the chore of returning items until the last minute).  

The volume dilution strategy in last-mile outbound should be implemented within first-mile returns fulfillment. The Re-turnz service functions as a dampener on the “white squall” nature of the returns wave flooding e-commerce infrastructure.

  • Re-turnz on-demand and at-home features addresses the consumer’s desire for a more flexible, safe, and convenient returns process, which promotes early consumer returns.
  • Early returns are then directed to the most efficient disposition location in the logistics network, such as in-store locations, parcel carriers, dark-stores, warehouse centers, etc.


The rapid growth of same-day and next-day deliveries must be met with equally consumer-centric and timely returns processing. Holiday e-commerce fulfillment does not stop at last-mile delivery, which is why Re-turnz First-Mile Logistics is a differentiating service for any e-commerce platform. 

Re-turnz is the first-to-market on-demand returns solution and currently operates in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, TX.  The Re-turnz business model builds scale by capturing density across retailers and carrier returns, with scalability goals for all major U.S. markets. 

Leadership: Jose Tamez, CEO; T Brandon La Lanne, CTO; Jamie Myers, Director – Product Development 
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