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2 big ways to beat the post-holiday returns blues

A UPS employee packages up a product

Whether it's an ill-fitting garment from Grandma, a gizmo that won't giz or the wrong Frozen sister, returning or exchanging an online purchase is seldom a pleasurable experience – for customer and retailer alike. And to complicate matters even more, according to the most recent UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper™ survey, only 66 percent of online shoppers were satisfied with their retailer's returns policy.

A customer-friendly experience, whether during the initial sale or the return, is critical to maintaining positive loyalty and sentiment. And according to Jim Brill, a UPS reverse logistics marketing manager, it's not a piece of advice most retailers take to heart.

"A lot of retailers we looked at claim they have a ‘hassle-free' returns process, but when you get into it, they're not walking the walk," Brill says.

In addition, here are two other ways The UPS Store can help e-commerce retailers "walk the walk" when it comes to product returns this post-holiday season.

1. Take advantage of packing experts

When The UPS Store Certified Packing Experts® pack and ship an item, it's covered by a Pack & Ship Guarantee. This ensures that if an item is damaged or lost in transit, your customer will be reimbursed for the value of the item. This guarantee also includes shipping and packaging costs incurred.

Expert packaging can make a big difference in reclamation rates, especially when it comes to delicate items or electronics that require special packaging – and may not survive a trip back to you if your customer does the packing. Some companies opt to process returns with The UPS Store, and then receive a bill monthly for itemized packing and shipping charges, under The UPS Store Corporate Retail Solutions program. Technology makes consolidated billing possible, as all 4,500 locations are networked.

2. Use the UPS store to facilitate exchanges

With The UPS Store Exchanges program, The UPS Store can act as a virtual storefront, exchanging merchandise, parts or other items for online sellers. You select The UPS Store locations you want to use, and direct your customer to the appropriate location.

How it works: You ship a replacement item to the appropriate location, where it is temporarily held for customer pickup. The customer arrives, shows proper identification, and exchanges his item for a new one. The UPS Store location follows your instructions to pack (as necessary) and ship the item back to you. You can then pick up the tab for packing and shipping, or have your customer incur part or all of the charges.

For more details on UPS Returns® or The UPS Store Exchanges program, ask to speak with your UPS account manager.

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