Number Of Packages Returned Expected To Peak Before Christmas, Reflecting E-Commerce Shift

Written By: Jen Neville
December 24, 2018

inventory management

National Returns Day is expected to occur prior to Christmas, reflecting just how deeply e-commerce is reshaping the retail universe, according to UPS.

Consumers who got a jump on online shopping in the days before Black Friday are expected to begin returning more than 1 million packages each day in December, jumpstarting the holiday returns season earlier than ever. The spike is driven by self-gifting due to retailer promotions, express shipping for deliveries and returns, simplified returns processes and advanced re-stocking and management systems.

In past years, National Returns Day occurred in early January and represented the highest spike of packages for the entire year. Returns are still expected to hit 1.3 million packages on Jan. 3, but this will now represent the second wave and be outpaced by Dec. 19th returns of 1.5 million. These returns are included in the 800 million packages UPS anticipates delivering this holiday season.

”UPS understands the essential and evolving role that package returns play in e-commerce. As a result, UPS has helped our customers get ahead of the curve with a portfolio of technology-driven returns services,” stated Kevin Warren, UPS’s Chief Marketing Officer. “We help retailers deliver a premium experience that manages the cost of the returns process while meeting the needs of today’s discerning consumer.”

Research continues to show that to succeed in e-commerce retailers must offer comprehensive returns services. UPS’s Pulse of the Online Shopper study found that:

-75% of consumers have shipped returns back to the retailer;
-79% of e-commerce shoppers surveyed said free shipping on returns is important when selecting an online retailer;
-44% said the top issue encountered when returning an item online is paying for return shipping; and
-Top elements of a great returns experience include an easy-to-return online experience and a no-questions-asked policy.

Optoro, a technology company that helps retailers and brands optimize their returned and excess inventory, found that 97 percent of consumers are more likely to buy something again from a retailer with which they had a positive returns experience. Conversely, 89 percent of customers will not shop again at a retailer or brand with which they had a negative returns experience.

“Leading retailers and brands understand that the returns moment is an increasingly important time to drive future customer loyalty and engagement,” added Tobin Moore, co-founder and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based Optoro.

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