The Postal Service™ is making improvements to its returns infrastructure to prepare for the annual returns flurry.
This shopping season is likely to be even more hectic than last year with projected growth from online shopping in the double-digits. Also, USPS® is projected to deliver almost 850 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day — that’s up more than 10 percent from last year! A major spike in online holiday shopping is driving this increase.
Once the sun sets on candles and tinsel, consumers will go about returning items that they ordered or that they received as gifts. As the number of items ordered online and shipped to consumers grows, so will the demand for easy, convenient return methods that attract repeat business.
The Postal Service is ready for the challenge in the following ways:
- Continued expansion of our returns processing capabilities. A total of 16,692 Parcel Return Service Return Delivery Units (RDUs) across the country are available to pick up packages. This helps us handle the volume and positions us as the returns shipping provider of choice in a crowded market worth about $6 billion.
- It’s easier for businesses to insure returns with USPS. Insurance is available for up to $5,000.
- Offering one universal shipping permit. We have one universal shipping permit that covers Parcel Return Service, Merchandise Return Service, Bulk Parcel Return Service, and USPS Returns® and outbound products.
- Significant enhancement of Merchandise Return Service (MRS). MRS applies to three mail classes: First-Class Package Service®, Priority Mail®, and Ground Return Service. This simplifies returns for the Postal Service and its customers by offering cost-effective options and streamlining the weighing and rating process of traditional MRS parcels.
- Bulk Parcel Return Service (BPRS) is a Returns endorsement. This means that mailers receiving these return packages pay the per-piece fee without paying postage fees. Also, consumers are no longer required to download and print the mailer’s BPRS label, which simplifies the consumers’ returns process.
- Increasing the volume for First-Class Package Service® (FCPS®). Commercial customers with negotiated service agreements (NSAs) can mail packages weighing up to one pound for a flat rate. This service targets merchants that ship high-value, lightweight products such as jewelry or consumer electronics.
Return labels can either be included in the original order or requested through a merchant’s call center. Consumers then affix the return label to their package and mail it using one of the following options:
- Take it to one of 31,000 Post Offices™ nationwide,
- Drop it in one of 160,000 collection boxes (package must meet aviation mail security guidelines), or
- Go to usps.com to schedule a Package Pickup at any of the 132 million available domestic addresses.
The Postal Service also offers a number of options that help businesses create and deliver return labels to customers. Businesses that use Priority Mail Returns® Service, First-Class Package Return® Service, Ground Return Service, and Parcel Return Service can use the Print and Deliver application to order return labels; USPS will then create those labels and deliver them, along with return instructions, to the following:
- One of 31,000 Post Offices nationwide;
- A domestic address; or
- One of more than 2,500 self-service kiosks, where consumers can print them.
Merchants can also instruct the Postal Service to hold the labels for pickup at a designated Post Office. Small- and medium-sized merchants have the following options:
- Use the Merchant Returns Label Tool to generate Merchandise Return Service and Scan Based Payment labels.
- Use the Click-N-Ship® Business Pro to generate Parcel Return Service or Merchandise Return Service labels to include in the original shipment box or send to the cloud platform. Self-service printing is also available individually or in batches.
— Shipping Products and Services,
Products and Innovation, 12-21-17