UPS announced that it will offer UPS Returns Manager, a free online tool that allows e-commerce merchants to customize return shipments.
The news follows a report published by the National Retail Federation showing that Americans returned $260.5 billion in merchandise — 8% of all purchases — in 2015, a number that is likely to spike in coming months and years.
By using Returns Manager, UPS business customers can manage return shipments without needing to integrate new technology into their own IT systems, the company wrote in its new release. Consumers using the service can print a return shipping label directly from ups.com tracking, whether from the Web or their mobile device, and from e-mail alerts. They also can print return labels at UPS store locations at no additional cost.
UPS Returns Manager, which launched in the United States on Aug. 14 and will debut Aug. 28 in 43 other countries, gives internet merchants a tool to manage returns “where shoppers send back hundreds of billions of dollars in merchandise each year,” according to UPS. “In fact, various industry estimates peg the cost of processing returns in a range of 10% to 15% of the cost of goods sold.”
Stu Marcus, UPS vice president of customer technology marketing, said, “Online returns are a headache for many merchants and their customers. The UPS Returns Manager makes the process a lot easier.”
He noted that the online tool is perfect for any shipper, especially small and midsize merchants that lack such capabilities in-house. “UPS is the first logistics provider to offer the ability to create a return shipment through a tracking results page,” he said.
The new service allows 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 easy association of the two shipments. Merchants can also preauthorize shipments for specified accounts and better control the returns process in the manner of a large retail site but without integrating the technology.
UPS also touts that Returns Manager will be a source for business intelligence and “other insights about reasons for returns,” is a cost-effective alternative to placing a return label in every outbound package and will increase customer loyalty due to an easy return method.