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Lost under the boxes: holiday shipping returns reached an all time high

As we head into one of the next major U.S. holidays—Valentine's Day—it's a great time to take note of what we experienced and learned during the November-January holiday season. If there's one thing we know, holidays are likely to lead to an influx of returns.

Consumers were expected to return about 1.4 million packages on National Returns Day (January 3rd), according to a press release from UPS. This is an 8% increase from the amount last year, making January 3rd, 2018 the busiest day for carriers nationally. An estimated 5.8 million return packages were shipped back to retailers the first full week of January this year.

Whether you are bracing for post-Valentine's Day return chaos, or want to retool for next yearthere are a few things that you can do to keep your customers happy and keep your bottom line safe.

What are you willing to sacrifice in the name of brand experience?

iStock-163869625.jpgIn UPS' 2017 Pulse of the Online Shopper study, 79% of those surveyed said free shipping on returns was a big factor in considering an online purchase. With as little as one-click to purchase items online, it’s become even easier for customers to order items and have them on their doorsteps, shipped free, in a matter of days.

This is why it’s more important than ever to get the right price on your shipping needs in the first place. Keeping cost down initially on the original shipment will help you save money in the beginning in hopes of not losing in the event of a return.

Another way to win with your customers is by making the return process, in and out of the stores, as easy as possible. Think about the brand impact of allowing your shoppers the courtesy of an easy return while remembering the cost to your business. 

One of the major players in the ecommerce and quick-shipping market, Walmart has created a new process for shoppers, granting them the ability to initiate a return through an app, Mobile Express Returns. This is a perfect example of how some retailers are focusing on making the return process more customer friendly and convenient. While no retailer likes to see products returned, making the customer experience more streamlined and user-friendly makes for an overall better brand experience.

It's important to remember that the process of returning as a customer isn’t always ideal. Whether it's trying to repackage items, to waiting in line, to waiting for the credit to show upit can be a lengthy process. That's what makes options like ‘Mobile Express Returns’ attractive, as they help businesses make customers happier, faster. Making returns easier through mobile or web is just one of the ways to ensure your buyers think about your brand first when they want a seamless gift purchase, whatever the season. 


What should shippers focus on when dealing with high returns?

Amidst the busyness of seasonal returns, it’s even more critical to pick the most affordable and quickest shipping options to get your replacement items back to stores or customers. Pacejet shippers have the ability to use rate shopping to help make the most informed choice on all types of carriers; which is critical when handling returns.

Consumers are not going to stop shopping in store or ordering online anytime soon, so it’s important to focus your efforts on maintaining consistent, quality shipping operations to ensure the best customer experience for your brand.  This make sure customers keep coming back for future purchases if you are selling direct or that stores keep stocking your products if you are a distributor.

Once you have a chance to identify the pain points from this holiday season, contact us to see how we can help improve your processes.


Pacejet can help you exceed expectations

Pacejet transforms the shipping dock into a launching pad for profitability. This starts with a best-in-class cloud-based solution, surrounding it with the consultative support that enables customers to thrive in the 21st century shipping economy. Contact us today. Visit http://pacejet.com, call 877-722-3538, or email info@pacejet.com.

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Topics: Pacejet - Articles, Pacejet - Holidays