In an effort to help high-volume eCommerce retailers and merchants improve their customer experiences, FedEx has unveiled a new returns management product. Trade publication Logistics Management reported that the offering, called FedEx Returns Technology, helps ease the return logistics process for large businesses.
Ryan Kelly, senior vice president, FedEx Supply Chain, said in a statement, “Returns have rapidly evolved into a critical factor, second only to cost, in satisfying today’s eCommerce customers. FedEx Returns Technology bridges the gap between digital and physical, allowing merchants to define a returns strategy that works for their business model and for their customers.”
The offering is a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution that provides a customer service portal, return merchandise authorization (RMA) creation and analytics to eCommerce merchants.
The technology behind the offering is also integrated into 1,700 participating FedEx Office locations in the U.S., which provides a drop-off location for customers of eCommerce websites. In some cases, consumers could also receive a credit from the retailer after their returns are validated and inspected.
The news comes a few months after CNBC reported an estimate that consumers would return about $90 billion worth of goods last holiday season, according to Optoro, a firm that specializes in the business of return shipments. That figure was close to a quarter of the total value of goods returned each year, which has been growing steadily as more consumers shop online.
“Being able to return is now a competitive tool,” said Bruce Cohen, who heads strategy and private equity for retail and consumer products at consulting firm Kurt Salmon. “If it’s a pain for customers to return items, they will go elsewhere.”
While shoppers prefer to buy online but return goods in a store, said Rajesh Subramaniam, head of FedEx marketing, both FedEx and UPS are trying to profit from deliveries and returns by setting up drop-off locations for consumers.
FedEx has pick-up and drop-off locations in supermarkets, drugstores and other locations and has set up centers at more than 7,500 Walgreens drugstores, as well as at some Kroger and Albertsons supermarkets.