The holidays may be past us, but the “reverse logistics season” is ramping up into full gear.
A UPS spokesman told Logistics Management, a logistics magazine, that the peak holiday shipping season remains intact. UPS defines the holiday shipping season as November 14 – January 22 because it includes returns. UPS said it will handle more than 60 million return packages, breaking their previous record of 55 million returns set in 2020.
According to UPS, 27% of Americans expect to make a return this holiday season, with 41% of those stating they plan to return three or more items. The Northeast leads the way in return volume with 30% of respondents saying they will be making returns. While in the West that number drops to 21%.
There is no doubt that it is important for businesses to make return processing as easy as possible for customers.
- 35% of customers say that returns are a frustrating experience;
- 79% of customers say a positive returns experience influences the decision to make future purchases; and
- 84% expect online retailers to offer a no-cost return option
Also of note is that 43% of American adults say that the convenience of drop-off locations or return requirements to be present for pickup as the biggest barriers to returning a holiday gift.
To help, UPS has about 21,000 Access Points around the country for customers to drop off return packages, including The UPS Store, CVS, Michaels, Advance Auto Parts, Package Express Centers, and thousands of independent merchants.
The spokesman stated that, “More than 90% of U.S. consumers will find a UPS Access Point location within five miles of their home.”
To help merchants, UPS offers Digital Returns. Digital Returns are label-less. The recipient pre-boxes their items and takes them to a UPS Store where they show a QR code for the store associate to print a label for them.
UPS offers a similar box-less service for eligible items where the customer brings their items to the store, shows a QR code, and the store associates will handle boxing and printing a label for them.
In the ecommerce marketplace, none of us want to see returns, but they are inevitable. It’s important to make sure that your business has a process in place to make returns and reshipment (if necessary) as easy as possible for customers and to continue to provide a great customer experience.