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Is a Buy Online Return In-Store Policy Right for Your Omnichannel Retail Operation?

Time to read 7 minutes
Mike Lowey
Mike Lowey
Director of Retail

What is BORIS, and how does it impact omnichannel retail?

Buy Online Return In-Store, or BORIS, is here to stay. This retail return strategy is exactly what it sounds like: customers make purchases online and return their items to a physical store. While some retailers have been practicing a form of BORIS before the boom of eCommerce return rates, it’s brand-new territory for most retailers. And while it may seem like a daunting logistical challenge, the strategy behind it is sound — especially when you consider the positive impact it may have on your bottom line.

One of the advantages to BORIS is that that it gets foot traffic back in-store. Customers get more personalized returns process and face to face interactions, both of which can improve ominichannel customer experience. The return process also tends to go much faster — less money spent on shipping and materials, fewer items lost or delayed in transit.

What are the benefits of in-store eCommerce returns?

Using BORIS as a strategic addition to your returns or reverse logistics process can offer a range of benefits for your operation. In fact, retailers that offer in-store returns for online purchases see a significant increase in sales. Customers who come into the store to return items are more likely to make additional purchases during their visit, resulting in a higher average transaction value1.

BORIS benefits for customers

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), consumers now rate in-person, box-free returns as the #1 preferred method for online returns2. And this tracks with consumer desire for convenient returns — the same study from NRF found that half of shoppers will abandon a cart because there wasn’t a convenient return method available2.

BORIS delivers convenience and immediate resolution for customers. BORIS may also help reduce the amount of carbon emissions associated with mail-in returns. With more and more consumers choosing environmental sustainability as a brand differentiator, actively preventing excessive carbon emissions is always a good thing.

BORIS benefits for retailers

BORIS can play a pivotal role in the returns process and deliver benefits that may help improve customer satisfaction and increase sales.

Here are five key benefits of BORIS for retailers:

  1. Providing a great in-store experience may lead to repeat purchases, and long-term loyalty.

    BORIS acts as a bridge between online shopping and an in-store, human-to-human experience. By offering fast, transparent refunds, retailers can communicate with customers to meet their expectations in a way that may strengthen the consumers brand loyalty. And customers are already in-store with cash on hand — there’s never been a better time to turn a return into an exchange, boosting your bottom line and even winning repeat purchases.

  2. BORIS can help optimize your return process or reverse logistics process.

    Retailers can process returns faster and more efficiently, reducing the time and effort required for handling returns in comparison to mail-based returns. This efficiency translates into cost savings and improved operational productivity for retailers.

  3. BORIS may help improve overall transparency and speed.

    BORIS can add much-appreciated transparency into a retailer returns process, with immediate refunds or exchanges happening on-the-spot. And with NRF reporting that transparency and speed of refund make the difference between delighted and disappointed returners1, the benefits for retailers and consumers are clear.

  4. BORIS helps reduce the carbon emissions associated with shipping returns back to the warehouse or supplier.

    Nearly half of all consumers are willing to pay for a more sustainable, environmentally friendly return option. Implementing BORIS as a return strategy is a simple, effective step in a larger movement towards more sustainability.

  5. BORIS may play a role in fraud-prevention and item switching.

    By leveraging barcode scanning and label printing right at the point of return, retailers can ensure accurate, secure processing of returned retail inventory. In fact, 68% of retailers reported a decrease in fraudulent returns after implementing BORIS3.

Is BORIS right for my omnichannel retail operation?

Is your operation ready for BORIS? Here are a few critical considerations to keep in mind:

  • Do you have a sufficient number of locations to accommodate BORIS?

    Customers need to be able to easily find an online store to process your returns. While 96% of shoppers are willing to travel for a free return, the distance shoppers are willing to travel peaks at 10 miles and drastically dips for any distance farther than that2.

  • Can you handle longer lines, especially during peak seasons?

    If you don’t have queue-busting mobile printers in place, consider implementing them alongside BORIS. They can minimize wait times and lend to a more seamless returns experience for customers. And because around 50% of your shoppers choose return-in store for convenience of location & hours (with the runner up being the ability to shop for other items), keeping things moving is mission critical4.

  • Do you have enough staff to manage the demands that BORIS may bring?

    If you’re facing worker shortages, consider investing in productivity-boosting technologies like mobile printers. They enable your associates to handle multiple tasks efficiently and without extensive training, reducing the need for additional resources.

  • Do you have the right technology in place to deploy BORIS?

    For a flawless BORIS implementation, you’ll want a robust WMS or POS system, a reliable barcode scanner, and a rugged mobile or compact desktop printer. While each part of the trifecta plays an important role, having the right mobile printer is absolutely critical — BORIS relies on the ability to create physical labels and barcodes on the spot. These labels deliver efficiencies in the tracking and processing of returned inventory. This allows for up-to-the-minute inventory visibility, so your associates can make informed decisions — a key step for preventing fraud. And they further streamline processes for your associate and customer at the point of sale, reducing wait times.

The technology needed for buy online return in-store offers real retail benefits

The returns process can offer challenges. BORIS solves many of them. And the investment in technology to support BORIS — particularly investing in mobile printers — can enhance your overall operational efficiency and deliver a better return experience.

After your associate completes a return, they can then use the same mobile printer they used for proof-of-return documentation to generate any resale or inventory documentation needed to get the product back on the shelves as quickly as possible, preventing the pileups that often occur around an inefficient return process.

Your BORIS printer can continue to deliver benefits beyond returns! Use your mobile solution to generate common retail documentation like:


Shelf labeling








Pick lists


Omnichannel documentation

BORIS opens the door to MORE

If you implement BORIS, you’re delivering MORE: Mobile On-the-spot Return Enhancements. Yes, we made that up.

But the enhancements that mobile printers can bring to your return or reverse logistics process are real:

  • Better inventory visibility
  • Sustainable practices
  • Increased efficiency, even in the face of worker shortages
  • Chances to win back customer loyalty
  • Transparency through communication and documentation
  • Personalized coupons and incentives to win more sales
  • Fraud prevention and return accuracy

Consider deploying a rugged, versatile mobile printer in your operation today for your returns process and beyond. The Brother lineup of mobile printers are all made with the retail industry in mind. They’re drop-in ready, built for the demands of retail, and have in-stock options available now.

Read more: How to Use Accurate Retail Labeling to Create a Great Customer Experience

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