The Future of e-Commerce, moving Forward


Because shipments are now leaving warehouses for consumers rather than exclusively distribution centers or retailers, the need to have a process for managing customer-level returns is of increasing importance to e-Commerce sellers. An entire association has in fact come into being because of this need. Reverse logistics management is one of the most rapidly growing sectors of e-Commerce management and fulfillment.


The buying and return management needs of goods owners in sectors such as footwear and apparel are far different because their customers are buying differently than a company selling home furnishings or consumer electronics. Garment and footwear importers and cargo owners cannot rely on a one-size-fits-all returns solution offered by just any provider. The specific returns management solutions that Future Forwarding offers differentiate us from the competition.


As detailed in this recent BBC article, consumers who are choosing not to go to stores – or who pre-pandemic were already purchasing these items online – may be unsure of the size they need. Instead of buying one, they may buy two, three or even five versions of the same garment or shoe, bracketing a range of sizes to find the one that fits just right. 


For the seller, it means carrying additional inventory and carefully forecasting their selling price to accommodate the inherent cost of processing a return of 50 – 80% of the initial shipment. 


For the logistics company, it increases the number of picks for a single order and creates a bidirectional flow of freight into and out of their warehouse, including designing a process to inspect, repackage and prepare a product to leave the warehouse for a second or perhaps even third time.


Future Forwarding has at its core deep experience in handling reverse logistics for garment and footwear importers. We have designed systems that involve inventorying, picking and shipping seasonal orders to traditional brick and mortar stores operated by department stores as well as the brands themselves. At the end of a season, items may be returned to be cleaned, hung, have small repairs made and bide their time to go back out the next year. 


The same systems that we use to send and receive these large pick-and-ship orders are immediately translatable to individual e-Commerce orders destined directly for the purchasers. 


  • We maintain comprehensive on-hand and inbound inventory visibility at style, size and SKU level. This ensures accuracy for online stories and also helps the cargo owners determine whether or not a single or multiple shipments will be required to fulfill a single order.
  • Future Forwarding has designed and optimized our warehouses and deployed technology for our employees that allows them to receive, prioritize and fill orders using rules that we or our customers have set.
  • Our locations in the Atlanta metropolitan area put us within immediate reach of a significant percentage of our customers’ audiences in as little as three days for most ground-based parcel services.
  • We have garment-on-hanger and footwear specific racking.


There are warehouses who talk about e-Commerce fulfillment and their ability to pick and pack for garment and footwear companies – and then there is Future Forwarding.


Contact us today for a virtual or in-person tour of any of our buildings or to learn how we can become your e-Commerce fulfillment provider on the back of our strength in return logistics management.

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