After delivering a record number of packages this holiday season, shipping carriers are gearing up for what’s bound to be a season of record breaking return shipments.
Record Breaking Package Volume Means Record Return Shipments
Even as traditional retail sales keep slowing down, eCommerce package volume has surged over the past few years. The holidays are always the peak season for shippers and eCommerce businesses, since it’s when consumers spend the most. In fact, Black Friday in 2019 saw $7.2 billion in digital sales alone. As a result, the carriers delivered more packages this holiday season than ever before…and some carriers’ on-time delivery percentage fared better than others. Nevertheless, higher package volume inevitably results in higher returns, which should make for a busy January throughout the shipping industry.
On Thursday, spokespeople for UPS said the carrier expects to process 1.9 million return shipments on January 2nd. That figure is up 26% from one year ago. January 2nd marks what UPS now calls “National Returns Day,” when it expects peak gift returns.
When speaking on the impact of returns on the shipping industry, UPS stated the following in an official press release:
“This process is a change from years past, when consumers would rush to physical retailers the day after Christmas and stand in long lines to make returns.”
Including Return Labels in Your Packages Makes the Process Easier
If you’re a shipper, inserting return labels inside your packages is the best way to eliminate the stress of returns. Some carriers such as USPS don’t even charge for return postage unless the label gets used. Therefore, you don’t pay for return labels unless your customers need to return packages. You also pay a small processing fee, which varies from carrier to carrier.
Since returns account for only a small portion of total shipments, including pre-paid return labels for customers to send items back is the best way to get ahead of returned shipments and stay focused on your regular operations.