Forget returns after Christmas morning — a new survey by UPS found that National Returns Day will happen prior to Christmas, underscoring how eCommerce is changing retail and the behaviors of consumers.
In a press release, delivery company UPS said that consumers who began shopping online ahead of the Black Friday shopping weekend will start returning more than 1 million packages during the month of December. UPS said a lot of the returns will be driven by “self-gifting” because of promotions retailers launched early on, express shipping and easy return processes. National Returns Day typically happens in early January, with it representing the biggest increase in pacakges for the year. Consumers have traditionally waited until Christmas was over to start returning items in exchange for what they truly want. But that is clearly changing, with UPS saying returns are forecast to reach 1.3 million packages on Jan. 3 but will count as the second wave. Dec. 19 is now forecast to have 1.5 million in returns. The returns, noted UPS, are included in the 800 million packages it expects to deliver during the holiday season.
“UPS understands the essential and evolving role that package returns play in e-commerce. As a result, UPS has helped our customers get ahead of the curve with a portfolio of technology-driven returns services,” UPS Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Warren said in the press release. “We help retailers deliver a premium experience that manages the cost of the returns process while meeting the needs of today’s discerning consumer.”
UPS noted in the press release that its research continues to show that online merchants have to offer return services that are comprehensive in order to see repeat business. Its Pulse of the Online Shopper survey found that 75 percent of consumers shipped returns back, 79 percent of eCommerce shoppers said free shipping and free returns are important when choosing a retailer, while 44 percent said a big issue they faced when returning an item online was having to pay for shipping.