FedEx announced a new platform for package returns, dubbed FedEx Returns Technology, that will enable merchants to manage their returns and give customers access to an easier return process
FedEx announced a new platform for package returns, dubbed FedEx Returns Technology, that will enable merchants to manage their returns and give customers access to an easier return process, CNBC reports.
The company didn’t specify when it planned to make this offering available to retailers and their customers, but it offered several details on its potential use:
- Retailers and other sellers will be able to use the platform to gain critical insights on inventory management and the location of return packages in transit. Retailers will be able to see when their customers drop a package off for a return, and track the shipment until it gets back to the seller. This will give logistics providers and retailers valuable shipping data they can analyze to pinpoint return trends and customer behavior, potentially allowing these companies to cut down return times and the cost of future returns.
- In addition, consumers will be able to drop off their packages for return at one of the 1,700 FedEx Office locations across the US. From there, the logistics giant’s employees will package the return and send it back to the retailer. This helps meet consumers’ preferences for in-store returns — an Optoro study from late 2017 found that 64% of US consumers said in-store returns were more convenient than other return options, such as through third-party processors or distribution centers.
FedEx Returns Technology aims to improve the returns process, which is a major pain point in the logistics industry, for a number of stakeholders. The National Retail Federation estimated earlier this year that 13% of all goods purchased over the holiday season would eventually be returned, highlighting the sheer volume of parcels that logistics providers have to handle on the returns side.
Additionally, an AlixPartners study found the variable cost per package returned can reach $8 per parcel, and it can take as many as six days before the item is ready for resale by a retailer, eating into retailers’ revenue and profit margins. Moreover, meeting consumers’ desire for in-store returns could help attract retailers looking to improve the customer relationship. If the platform is able to help FedEx and its retail customers cut costs, streamline return shipments, and strengthen customer engagement, it could push rival logistics providers like UPS and DHL to explore launching their own in-house platforms.