Ecommerce shipping technology company Endicia unveiled the electronic postage industry’s first “pay-on-use” returns system that allows online retailers to send United States Postal Service return labels that aren’t prepaid, so postage is only deducted if the returned item hits the mail stream.
The Pay-On-Use Returns service, announced at IRCE 2014, allows retailers to avoid the issue of requesting refunds for return labels that go unused, as well as the cost of including them in shipments.
Retailers have a couple of options with the service. When preparing an outbound package using Endicia’s returns solution they choose the type of USPS service they want – Priority Mail, Parcel Select, etc. – select the rate, print the pay-on-use label, sort it into the package and ship it. Or if a customer wants to send a package back, the retailer can create a return label in PDF and have it emailed to them.
Postage is automatically deducted from the retailer’s Endicia postage account when a mail stream scan is detected. A 25 cent transaction fee is charged for each scanned label, and the scan and payment status of each label can be tracked online through Endicia.
[Check out more content from IRCE 2014 here]
Emma Johnson, Endicia’s director of marketing, said the company was hearing from customers who wanted to use USPS for returns because the costs are often lower compared to private carriers. But they weren’t able to include non-prepaid labels unless they met the threshold of 10,000 pieces returned per year.
“Consumers can pop back a return from their home, a postal box or a USPS counter,” Johnson said. “They have so many other options instead of going to a UPS or FedEx store. This takes the hassle out of returns for consumers and eliminates the retailer’s cost of paying for all those prepaid labels.”
Johnson said the service has the potential to create more ecommerce traffic for the USPS, because retailers who might have opted for a private carrier to avoid the prepaid return costs can now opt for the postal service instead.
“We recognize that there is a time and a place for many shippers, particularly when you get to mid- and high-volume operations, to use private carriers as well as USPS,” she said. “It depends on things like what zone you’re shipping from, how quickly you want it to get there, the weight and other factors.”