FedEx will launch FedEx Consolidated Returns, a solution designed to provide an easy ecommerce returns option that retailers can make available to shoppers, in early 2023. The service will be the latest addition to the FedEx Returns portfolio, which also includes printer-less and package-less return options at more than 10,000 locations nationwide.
FedEx Consolidated Returns will be facilitated through supply chain services offered by FedEx Logistics and FedEx Office. Shoppers who purchased items from participating retailers will be able to drop off those they wish to return, with no box or label required, at approximately 2,000 FedEx Office locations. The returned items will then be consolidated with other returns from a variety of retailers to save materials and space. The items will then be processed through FedEx Logistics and sent back to their respective retailers.
The service aims to provide a lower-cost solution for high-volume returns, end-to-end visibility of returned items and a shopper-friendly experience in a competitive ecommerce market. Additionally, FedEx Consolidated Returns may reduce carbon emissions compared to single prepackaged/prelabeled returns.
“As the returns market grows, FedEx continues to explore innovative alternatives for our customers,” said Ryan Kelly, VP of Ecommerce and Retail Marketing at FedEx Services in a statement. “While this solution will provide a low-priced returns option for merchants, it’s also a simple, convenient process to help retailers deliver a shopper-friendly experience.”
The cost of returns is a major concern for retailers during current inflationary times; in fact, 58% of retailers cited the cost of shipping and handling returns as one of their top returns challenges in Retail TouchPoints’ 2022 Omnichannel and Fulfillment Benchmark Report. Additionally, 19% of retailers are turning to third-party providers to manage their returns — an opportunity for services like FedEx’s to find a significant audience.
Concern over the cost of returns is no surprise. The National Retail Federation (NRF) and Appriss Retail projected that approximately 16.6% of all U.S. retail sales in 2021, or $761 billion in merchandise, were returned. A related NRF survey found that for every $1 billion in sales, the average retailer incurs $166 million in merchandise returns.