UPS introduces online returns service for e-commerce merchants

UPS this week introduced a new online offering-set to debut on August 14 in the United States and August 28 in 43 other countries-that enables e-commerce merchants to customize return shipments according to their policy.

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UPS this week introduced a new online offering-set to debut on August 14  in the United States and August 28 in 43 other countries-that enables e-commerce merchants to customize return shipments according to their policy.

Entitled, UPS Returns Manager, UPS said this tool lets customers manage return shipments without having to integrate new technology into their own IT systems. And for consumers using this tool, UPS said they can print a return shipping label from the tracking website and from e-mail alerts and also print off return labels for free from The UPS Store locations.

Given the ongoing proliferation of e-commerce activity, UPS said UPS Returns Manager provided merchants with a valuable tool to manage returns in a market in which online shoppers return hundreds of billions of dollars in merchandise per year, with some estimates putting the cost of online returns at around 10-15% of the costs of good sold. 

“Online returns are a headache for many merchants and their customers. The UPS Returns Manager makes the process a lot easier,” said Stu Marcus, UPS vice president of customer technology marketing, in  statement. “It’s perfect for any shipper, especially small and mid-sized merchants that lack this capability in-house. UPS is the first logistics provider to offer the ability to create a return shipment through a tracking results page.”

UPS cited various benefits of UPS Returns Manager, including:

  • allowing UPS shippers to administer authorized return shipments, set their service level, request a reason for return, and see reports on their shipments;
  • outbound and return packages are linked in tracking, allowing for early association of the two shipments;
  • the ability to pre-authorize returns shipments for specified accounts;
  • a controlled, consumer-friendly returns process similar to those at large retail sites but without integrating technology;
  • a source for business intelligence and other insights about reasons for returns;
  • an immediate and hassle-free way to provide return labels to customers;
  • a cost-effective alternative to placing a return label in every outbound package; and
  • increased customer loyalty due to easy returns

“Returning goods is a huge part of ecommerce,” a UPS spokesman told LM. “Hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of goods are returned each year. The 2017 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study shows that 75% of avid online shoppers have shipped their returns back to the retailer and that many customers consider the terms of a merchant’s return policy when deciding whether to make a purchase. The UPS Returns Manager is an important tool that will make it much easier to use UPS to ship items back to merchants.”

About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

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