Finland’s national postal service Itella Posti has teamed up with online payment company Suomen Maksuturva to launch a new products return service this autumn.
A new joint venture Itella Maksuturva (Itella Secure Payment) aims to make it easier for consumers to return purchases they’ve made from online retailers.
The 24-hour service will allow customers to notify the retailers that a product is being returned, print address labels, track delivery and secure refunds on returned items.
Itella said the partnership has been developed in response to forthcoming European Union regulations that will seek to harmonize delivery and product return standards.
The company said the EU regulations were expected to be introduced in June 2014.
Aku Happo, director of Itella’s eCommerce operations said the growth of online retail was largely down to consumers seeing it as a convenient way to shop, yet most consumers do not know what to do when a purchase fails to match the order.
“Our solid experience in logistics services, combined with the payment security service, helps consumers take action in the online store. Clear instructions make for an even better shopping experience and increased confidence in online shopping,” said Happo.
Itella said the new service would make use of Suomen Maksuturva’s intelligent payment forwarding service platform, which was launched in 2009 and can already connect to various different online retail systems.
It should lead to processes being automated to cut the manual labour involved in operating returns, helping to save costs and eliminate a “major bottleneck” hindering business growth.
Mikael Smeds, managing director of Suomen Maksuturva, said that online shopping contributes less than 10% of the total retail trade in Finland, but predicted rapid growth as consumer behaviour changes.
“Finnish online stores can only find success under pressure from international operators when they understand that a good-looking website is not enough to achieve a competitive edge – the back-end processes must also be in order,” said Smeds.