UPS unveiled a service on Monday that aims to reduce the cost of returns and make them more convenient for both buyers and sellers.
UPS says its new Returns Exchange program, due to launch in October, will make returns more efficient by reducing the amount of time and money buyers and sellers spend on returns—which is a lot, according Donna Longino, UPS' public relations manager. She notes that U.S. consumers returned $200 billion worth of items last year and that manufacturers spent 9 percent to 14 percent of their sales on returns.
The new service will reduce the likelihood of returns fraud
The Returns Exchange program aims to cut costs by streamlining the return process. With it, when a buyer wants to return an item, they notify the seller and the seller notifies UPS. Then a UPS mail carrier will go to the buyer's home, drop off a replacement product and pick up the item being returned, at the same time.
This will keep shoppers happy, UPS notes, since they won't have to wait for a replacement after shipping an item back, and sellers won't have to pay for shipping twice. Plus, the program reassures sellers they'll get the right item returned to them, since the UPS carrier who visits the customer will also package and inspect items before they're returned.
"UPS Returns Exchange delivers time savings, increases the recovery rates of returned product and improves customer loyalty," Longino notes. "UPS Returns Exchange speeds up and simplifies the return of high-value items, leading to greater cost savings. The service provides more visibility into the return and repair process and reduces the likelihood of returns fraud."
Once items are ready to ship, UPS will provide merchants with tracking information so they'll know exactly where returns are as they make their way back.
"This innovative service brings our expertise in shipping and reverse logistics to the customer's door, giving them the advantage of speed and convenience," says Geoff Light, vice president of New Product Development. "UPS Returns Exchange enables a company to increase customer satisfaction by providing rapid replacement of an important item while improving the company's bottom line."
When the program begins, it will be available in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Mexico and Puerto Rico. UPS Exchange Returns is a contractual service, and pricing will vary, Longino notes.
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.