Insight / Blog

Powering multi-channel returns for Marks & Spencer

Posted on 14th November 2018

Delivering a multi-channel customer experience demands expertise in retail operations, logistics and technology.

Delivering an amazing multi-channel customer experience demands coordination of all of those things and an unwavering focus on the customer. Marks & Spencer chose Doddle to do just that, and complete the journey in its multi-channel ecosystem.


In early 2017 Marks & Spencer, one of the UK’s most loved retailers and a leader in multi-channel retailing, identified an inconsistency within its delivery and return proposition offered via its Simply Food stores. Existing architecture meant customers could collect M& orders via Simply Food stores but not return via the same channel.

Marks & Spencer sought a partner to design a reverse logistics solution that would delight Marks & Spencer customers and deliver:

  • Quick customer transactions

  • Accessible customer tracking information

  • Quick refund processing capabilities 

  • Physical receipts for customers

Maintaining the integrity of the customer experience was Marks & Spencer’s primary concern in choosing a solution partner. Doddle’s reputation as the most customer-centric click & collect company in the market combined with its unique carrier-agnostic status meant Doddle could work with any parcel carrier Marks & Spencer selected to design an efficient returns solution. 


Doddle met with Marks & Spencer in March 2017 to demonstrate the Powered by Doddle returns software which resulted in a live trial commencing in seven stores two months later. Following the trial, Doddle and Marks & Spencer worked together to enhance the returns flow to simplify features based on feedback from store teams.

Working with the Marks & Spencer technology team, Doddle delivered a new version of the app, optimised for the handheld devices used in store and integrated with Marks & Spencer systems. By the end of September 2017, the solution had been rolled out to 237 M&S Simply Food stores.


In evaluating the success of the solution, Marks & Spencer surveyed customers for their feedback on returning products through Simply Food stores. The results were overwhelmingly positive:

  • 90% of customers claimed to be “extremely satisfied” with the in-store experience

  • 85% of customers claimed that the ability to return online purchases at Simply Food locations would encourage them to order more frequently

  • 97% of customers claimed that they would use the service again

Marks & Spencer staff working in Simply Food stores were an integral stakeholder in delivering this solution and responded very positively to the new service, acting as key influencers in the decision to select Doddle over other providers.

The system has also been configured so that UK Mail, Marks & Spencer’s carrier partner, only collects parcels to return to the Marks & Spencer distribution centre once a minimum threshold of parcels has been reached. This eliminates the risk of a wasted carrier journey when there is an insufficient number of returns. This feature has ensured Marks & Spencer is able to achieve reverse logistics savings and minimise unnecessary freight road journeys through consolidated returns.

Download the PDF version of this case study. 

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