UPS is launching a new returns program in October called UPS Returns Exchange. The service is geared toward shippers in the high-tech, healthcare and retail industries and will be available to customers in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Mexico and Puerto Rico.
UPS Returns Exchange is a combined pickup and delivery service that gives businesses more control over the returns process. The program also improves the post-sales experience for end customers, Sumeet Shroff, UPS’s director of new product development, says. He explains how the program works:
- A UPS driver picks up an item for return while simultaneously delivering a replacement item.
- The driver assists the customer in packing the return item in the box used for the replacement item, which comes with resealable tape. UPS Returns Exchange reduces packaging and delivery costs by eliminating the seller’s need to send an empty box to customers and then dispatch UPS a second time to retrieve the item. The shipping label is scanned and the package is delivered to the merchant’s distribution center.
- The replacement item is only delivered if a like item is provided for return, improving shipper control of the returns process and reducing the opportunity for fraudulent returns
Shroff says UPS Returns Exchange helps protect returned products to reduce costs and environmental impact. “UPS evaluates packaging to confirm that it will protect goods against damage for both legs of transportation and, ideally, be reusable and recyclable.”
Why did UPS create this program? As Shroff notes, U.S. consumers returned $200 billion in 2010 – more than the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of 66% of the countries in the world.
“UPS tested the service in Europe where it is known as UPS Swap Service,” Shroff explains. “The response was positive from our customers in Europe, which is why we have expanded the service into the U.S. and named it UPS Returns Exchange.”
Shroff says manufacturers spend 9% to 14% of sales on returns, despite the fact that only 20% of returned goods are actually defective. “Reverse logistics has significant top and bottom line impact, and there are opportunities for businesses to control costs while also improving their customer’s post-sales experience.”
UPS Returns Exchange is best suited for high-value products starting in the $250 range, Shroff says. “UPS Returns Exchange delivers time savings, increases the recovery rates of returned product and improves customer loyalty.”