FedEx making returns easier
Anyone that has stood in line trying to return a package at a USPS, UPS or other location knows how frustrating it can be for the returner. A new FedEx program will accept unboxed, unlabeled returns, then consolidate returned items and ship them back to merchants.
FedEx Corp. said this week that it will launch a parcel returns consolidation program that will allow returned items to be dropped off without the products being boxed or labeled.
Under the program, FedEx Consolidated Returns, consumers can bring returned items with a QR code to any of the 2,000 locations operated by FedEx Office, the company’s storefront retail operation. At each location, FedEx will consolidate and process volumes of returns from multiple merchants. From there, the returns will be delivered to their origin locations using less-than-truckload services.
FedEx has an LTL unit, FedEx Freight. It’s unclear if other LTL carriers would be brought into the program.
In October 2020, FedEx and a company called Happy Returns entered into a similar agreement. But Monday’s announcement is an all-in FedEx-owned and -operated offering, and will market the “no-box, no-label” model to a broader range of customers, according to a FedEx spokesperson.
The new service is being marketed as a low-cost returns alternative for merchants. No merchants have yet signed up for the service, the spokesperson said.
FedEx already has a fairly large returns management portfolio, which was spawned by its December 2014 acquisition of Genco Distribution System Inc., a reverse logistics specialist.
In-person returns without a box or label are gaining popularity with U.S. consumers, especially those who lack continuous access to a printer to pump out labels. Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) has offered a similar service for years with retail partners like Kohl’s Inc., the nation’s largest department store chain.