UPS set to launch returns service for high-value goods

From October, UPS customers in Europe and North America are to be offered a new streamlined reverse logistics service for returning items from consumers. The company yesterday unveiled its new UPS Returns Exchange service, a combined delivery and pick-up service that would mean UPS drivers delivering a replacement item could simultaneously collect an item marked for return.

It might mean, for example, that a replacement laptop could be shipped out to a consumer, with the defective item returned in the same UPS visit.

The service will be available in the US, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico as well as Europe from the fall.

UPS, which is hailing the service as an industry first in North America, said it would particularly suit shippers of high-value goods in the high-tech, healthcare and retail industries.

UPS said its Return Exchange service would link in with its tracking tools to provide end-to-end visibility, while customers would be pre-alerted to their delivery the day before it arrives.

Geoff Light, vice president of new product development at UPS, said the new service would mean “speed and convenience” in reverse logistics.

“UPS Returns Exchange enables a company to increase customer satisfaction by providing rapid replacement of an important item while improving the company’s bottom line,” he said.

UPS Returns Exchange means companies would now no longer need to send out empty boxes for their customers to return items, calling out UPS a second time to retrieve the items.

Drivers will be able to help consumers pack items for return to the original company, using the packaging from the replacement item – reducing waste and product damage.

The company said as well as reducing costs, this would also reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the returns process.

UPS currently offers a UPS Returns service for returns in 98 countries around the world, in which shippers can provide their customers with a special shipping label for an item to be returned, or have UPS mail or email the customer a return label. The UPS Returns service can also be integrated with client websites.

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