UPS to deliver 1.3 million returns packages to retailers on National Returns Day

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Dec 28, 2016: Record ecommerce sales this holiday season has led to yet another record with shoppers returning packages back to retailers, said United Parcel Service in a statement. On National Returns Day, UPS expects returns to reach a new peak on January 5.

Holiday shoppers are projected to return 1.3 million packages with UPS on National Returns Day and more than 5.8 million packages during the first full week of January 2017. In 2016, shoppers returned more than one million packages on National Returns Day and five million packages during the peak returns week.

“Online shoppers want the same level of choice, control and convenience making their returns as they do making their purchases,” said Teresa Finley, chief marketing officer for UPS. “UPS helps retailers provide shoppers with a satisfying returns experience while managing rising returns volume and the complexities of providing a seamless omnichannel shopping experience.” 

According to the UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study, online shoppers are seeing the improvements that retailers have made to returns programs over the last five years. Between 2012 and 2016, consumers consistently reported fewer issues paying for returns shipping (decreasing from 66 percent to 50 percent), paying restocking fees (decreasing from 43 percent to 27 percent), and experiencing a delay in receiving credits or refunds (decreasing from 41 percent to 27 percent).

“While returns can’t be eliminated, an easy to use returns experience should be one of several retail strategies to enhance customer loyalty and manage the cost of returns processing,” continued Finley. According to the UPS study, 70 percent of online shoppers made an additional purchase when they returned an item to a store and 45 percent made an additional purchase when processing their return on the retailer’s website.

The returns process begins with including the necessary returns paperwork or instructions for the customer to effortlessly complete the transaction. Online shoppers report the best returns experience includes free returns shipping (60 percent), a hassle-free returns policy (51 percent), easy-to-print return labels (44 percent), timely refunds (42 percent), and a return label in the box (40 percent).

“Retailers are continuously improving their returns programs,” continued Finley. “The next great opportunity is to unlock the value of these returned products through a sophisticated reverse logistics program.” According to the National Retail Federation, merchandise returns cost US retailers more than $260 Billion in lost sales.

UPS recently formed a strategic alliance with Optoro, a technology company that helps retailers and manufacturers manage, process and sell returned and excess inventory. Together, the companies provide a one-stop shop reverse logistics solution that combines UPS’ operational and logistics expertise with Optoro’s software platform that maximizes recovery value and reduces environmental waste.

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