Everything You Need to Know About UPS and Amazon Return Policies
(Updated November 18, 2020)
Over the years, Amazon and UPS have simplified their return policies, successfully encouraging online buying behavior and maximizing customer experiences. Consumer demand is at the heart of these changes since shoppers purchase more confidently when a free and simple return process is in place. In fact, Forrester Research estimates that 25% of all items bought online are returned.
Web-based returns affect every type of shipper, especially consumer products and e-commerce businesses. In today's world, high volumes of online buying mean merchants and shippers need to know how returns are made and how they affect the customer experience and re-buying potential.
We'll explain how customers complete returns for both Amazon and UPS while looking at how businesses can use returns to improve their own processes and buying experience.
UPS Return Policies
How do UPS returns works?
How do UPS returns work? Shippers and shoppers have multiple options to process return orders and generate labels with UPS, including:
- UPS Print Return Label: Enables merchants to include return labels in outbound shipments or lets them send labels to customers later.
- UPS Electronic Return Label: Allows merchants to generate and email a return label to customers.
- UPS Print and Mail Return Label: Allows merchants to have UPS generate and mail a return label to customers.
- Authorized Return Service: Provides merchants with preprinted labels for distribution.
- In-Store Return Drop-Offs: Consumers bring their purchase to a store where UPS clerks print the label, box the package, and send it back to merchants
Can I print a shipping label at the UPS store?
Yes, UPS offers no-box and no-label returns depending on merchant preferences. If the online retailer allows these types of returns, they will provide a return code to buyers. Customers then take the purchased item and return code to a UPS Store. From there, the UPS associates will handle the rest. Read on for step-by-step instructions.
Step-by-step process for UPS Returns
Customer provides label and packaging to UPS:
UPS provides options for consumers to receive labels, package goods, and ship returns themselves. The first four options listed above fall in this category and have the same three steps.
1. Shippers include preprinted return labels in outbound packages, email or mail return labels after customers request a return, or use UPS to generate and mail a label after merchants receive return requests
2. Once buyers receive the label, they package their item and stick the label on the parcel
3. Buyers return their labeled package to any UPS service provider, including a UPS Drop Box or any other location that accepts UPS. Packages can also be picked up at a buyer's address by contacting a UPS office.
No-box and no-label returns:
UPS has options if buyers do not want to print labels and package items themselves. These returns are done through in-store drop-offs at UPS Stores.
1. For in-store drop-offs, buyers file a return request with the merchant, and the merchant sends a return code to the buyer's smartphone
2. Buyers take the item to a UPS Store
3. The UPS clerk scans the customer's code, prints the shipping label, boxes the product, and ships it back
UPS provides additional services that help make the return process easier for shippers and buyers.
UPS Returns Plus schedules a UPS driver to come to the buyer's address with a preprinted label and collects the package to send back to the merchant. There are two tiers for this service, one pickup attempt or three pickup attempts.
UPS Returns on the Web is a service for merchants that regularly ship using UPS. Buyers initiate UPS returns directly through the merchant's e-commerce site to print labels and track shipments. However, this doesn't provide merchants with options to rate-shop carriers, so there's a trade-off of value for convenience.
Amazon Return Policies
How do Amazon returns works?
How do Amazon returns work? Shippers and shoppers have multiple options to process return orders and generate labels with Amazon, including printing labels themselves or doing no-box and no-label returns.
How to print an Amazon Return label?
How to print an Amazon label? Buyers who need to return items from Amazon can print shipping labels themselves after submitting a return request through their Amazon account. Go to your Amazon account, submit your return request, and then follow the instructions to print your label. Once printed, attach the label to your packaged item, and send it via the carrier you selected.
Can I print an Amazon label at the UPS store?
Yes, depending on Amazon Seller preferences (most do), Amazon offers no-box and no-label returns at UPS Stores, Amazon Stores, and more. Customers receive a QR code after submitting a return request through Amazon. The customer then takes the purchased item and QR code to any of the above stores, and associates will scan the code, print the label, package the purchase, and ship it back. Read on for step-by-step instructions.
Step-by-step process for Amazon Returns
Customer provides label and packaging:
Amazon provides options for consumers to print labels, package goods, and ship returns themselves. For Amazon Seller returns, the Amazon merchant provides information on what carriers to use to ship items back.
1. Buyers submit a return request through Amazon
2. Buyers select their preferred carrier return method
3. Amazon provides a return label that is to be printed and attached to the return packaging
4. Buyers then pack the item they want to return and follow the instructions they received about sending back the purchase
No-box and no-label returns:
Amazon also has options if buyers do not want to print labels or package items themselves. These returns are done through in-store drop-offs. To find a list of locations, check Amazon for more information. However, not all Amazon purchases can be returned this way, so buyers should be aware of the available return options before making purchases.
1. For in-store drop-offs, buyers initiate a return request through their Amazon account, and Amazon sends a QR code to the buyer's smartphone
2. Buyers take the item they want to return to the drop-off point of their choosing
3. The associate at the store scans the customer's code, prints the shipping label, boxes the product, and ships it back for the buyer
The Benefits of Easier Return Policies
There's long-standing evidence that easier returns significantly boost online sales. In addition, 54% of customers say that free returns or exchanges make them more likely to shop online, with 96% of buyers saying they would shop from the retailer again based on a good return experience.
That said, an easy return policy can have downsides too. For instance, 41% of shoppers deliberately over-purchase and subsequently return unwanted items, 69% of consumers are deterred from buying online if they must pay return shipping, and 33% are deterred if there's difficulty finding the return or exchange policy. This puts e-commerce merchants in a precarious position of meeting customers' wishes while managing return-based costs.
How to Improve your Returns Processes, Tools, and Policies
For e-commerce retailers, there are a few ways you can update your operations to make return processing more effective. For starters, review your return policies and update your online statements to customers. Consider whether you'll place preprinted labels in shipments, accept in-store drop-offs, or handle returns through premium options or other technology.
If you're not already using it, consider the Pacejet shipping integration with Amazon for seller fulfilled Prime orders. Faster, more predictable, and more efficient outbound deliveries can reduce returns and lower your expenses to offset any increased expenditures when returns do occur. Additionally, Pacejet provides rate shopping for parcel carriers like UPS, FedEx, USPS, and others, to help you maintain the most cost-effective return process possible.
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