Customer Returns Reach All Time High — But That’s a Good Thing, Says UPS

Today is National Returns Day 2017 and major shipping companies are expecting to be extremely busy. Here are the numbers from UPS.

Retailers and manufacturers enjoyed record eCommerce sales in 2016, but those record sales come with another record that will usher — record returns of holiday packages to retailers. But wait. That’s not as bad as it might sound.

Returns Packages to Retailers Projected to Rise in 2017

According to UPS (NYSE:UPS), National Returns Day, when the most UPS return packages are sent back to retailers, will hot on Thursday, January 5.

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“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,”wrote UPS in an announcement on its official Pressroom blog.

Compared to 2016 where shoppers returned more than 1 million packages on National Returns Day and 5 million packages during the peak returns week, that’s a significant spike. But rising return volume is not all bad news, added UPS.

Rising Returns Not All Bad News

One good thing about rising return volume is that it indicates good return policies that can improve customer loyalty.

“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,” said Teresa Finley, chief marketing officer for UPS, which also offers return services to make returns easier.

UPS Return Services for Retailers

With its “technology-driven” return services, UPS estimates it has helped retailers recover 260 billion in lost sales. Its returns services include:

  • UPS Access Point, where deliveries and returns are handled through more than 26,000 local retailers, secure lockers, and The UPS Store locations in North America and Europe;
  • UPS Print Return Labels placed in outbound shipments to simplify the returns process;
  • UPS Electronic Return Labels emailed to consumers directly from UPS to improve their returns experience;
  • UPS Returns Plus, a service allowing merchants to send a driver to deliver a return label and pick up the return package from any address; and
  • UPS Returns Exchange, a service where a driver simultaneously picks up the return item in exchange for the replacement item delivery.

Interestingly, according to a UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper 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.

“Retailers are continuously improving their returns programs. The next great opportunity is to unlock the value of these returned products through a sophisticated reverse logistics program,” stressed Finley.

Image: UPS

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David William David William is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends. He covers franchises, brick and mortar businesses, public policy and other small business issues. He is also founding editor of WebWriterSpotlight.

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