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LONGITUDES

Simplifying the Returns Solution for Online Retailers

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Homebound, COVID-conscious consumers have increasingly turned to online shopping. As a result, shipping volume is soaring. In the United States, for example, UPS average daily volume increased 13.8 percent year over year, totaling 20.4 million packages per day during 2020’s third quarter.

The trend shows no signs of slowing during our peak season, and the industry forecast for surging online purchases naturally factors in plenty of holiday returns.

We have seen higher volumes of packages in The UPS Store network throughout the year, which is helping us prepare for the elevated demand ahead. Returns can get complicated fast for a lot of consumers, but The UPS Store is here to help.

“Typically, apparel and footwear are some of the most commonly returned items. That makes the collaboration between UPS, The UPS Store and Narvar for Cole Haan e-commerce purchases a great fit.”

Creating seamless returns

According to the UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study, 73 percent of online shoppers say the returns experience affects their likelihood to buy from a retailer again. As shoppers adjust their purchasing habits, retailers also must adapt to meet and exceed the expectations of their customers.

In July, UPS Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Warren introduced an outside-the-box solution for online shoppers — no-box, no-label returns. We’re proud to now introduce our first retail partner for this program, Cole Haan. Narvar, an intelligent customer engagement platform with more than 300 customers, supports this returns solution.

Typically, apparel and footwear are some of the most commonly returned items. That makes the collaboration between UPS, The UPS Store and Narvar for Cole Haan e-commerce purchases a great fit.

We’re excited about the opportunity to expand the no-box, no-label returns program to additional retailers as we move forward.

“The UPS Store can stand as a physical storefront for brands that operate solely online, working as an extension of a brand’s warehouse.”

Addressing pain points

Traditional big box retailers are finding creative ways to manage returns. For example, some have positioned kiosks at the front of stores for online order returns. But many customers, fearing exposure to COVID-19, may prefer to avoid unnecessary trips to stores.

Shipping expenses, and the overall cost of returns, are major stresses for retailers. The UPS Store can stand as a physical storefront for brands that operate solely online, working as an extension of a brand’s warehouse.

With 85 percent of the U.S. population living within 10 miles of a The UPS Store location, retailers can offer customers even greater flexibility and convenience through the returns process.

No box? No label? No problem

Aside from the physical convenience of returning packages to a The UPS Store location, our partnership with Narvar will further simplify the returns process. Consumers don’t need to worry about printing return shipping labels. And they don’t need to keep the original shipping materials that accompanied the item.

For retailers, this integration is quick and easy. The UPS Store locations will accept the product from the customer and in turn ensure the efficient return of goods. This helps the retailer’s warehouse team manage their returns effectively, and customers receive their refunds quickly.

In a year like 2020, smart returns solutions can alleviate holiday tensions for customers and retailers alike.

The UPS Store has a variety of corporate retail solutions available to help improve a client’s operations and enhance the customer service experience.

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