Sept. 11 2009 10:25 AM

What do you do when the shirt you ordered online looks different than it did on the computer screen, or the new shoes from a catalog don’t fit? You ship them back — and you’re not alone.

In today’s marketplace, one in five items sold through catalogs or online is returned, and this number is expected to grow as e-commerce rebounds in 2010. The challenge for retailers and online merchants is offering customers a quick, easy and convenient way to return unwanted purchases. Having a user-friendly method for handling returns can make or break how a customer feels about your business and can be a deciding factor in whether they do business with you again in the future.

Whether you are looking for a returns solution for your fulfillment operation or a way to manage product recalls, the U.S. Postal Service offers several convenient and easy-to-use return options. Not only does the Postal Service offer customized budget-friendly return options with unrivaled access to the largest shipping network in the US, but it also connects every home and business nationwide, six days a week.

Say you are a high-volume shipper interested in providing customers with a convenient postage-paid option for returning merchandise. The Postal Service’s Parcel Return Service is an economical return service and allows you to offer this service to customers without breaking the bank. And getting return labels to customers is easy, too: They can be included in the outbound shipment, emailed to the customer or downloaded from your company’s website.

Parcel Return Service combines the operational expertise of a third-party logistics provider with the Postal Service’s unmatched reach into homes and businesses. “Returns were once considered the black hole of supply chain management,” says Kevin Brown, Director of Marketing, Newgistics. “The unrivaled reach of the Postal Service’s network together with Newgistics’ technical and processing capabilities have created a winning solution for returns.”

But what if you run a small or mid-sized business and are just starting to offer return service? In this case, the Postal Service’s Merchandise Return Service is the solution for you. Merchandise Return Service offers the same value and convenience as Parcel Return Service but gives small and mid-sized businesses multiple service options based on transit time and cost, allowing businesses to customize their returns solutions to meet their own budget as well as their customers’ needs. Add the convenience of over 32,000 retail drop-off locations and the option of using free Package Pickup at, and you’ll see Merchandise Return Service is a great solution for growing businesses.

“Our daily presence at every household and business allows customers and merchants to leverage the most convenient entry options in the market for return packages,” says Jim Cochrane, USPS Vice President, Ground Shipping.

So whether you are a large-volume shipper interested in offering customers a prepaid and hassle-free returns experience or a small business just starting to offer returns options, the Postal Service has the returns solution to meet your business’s needs. With unrivaled reach to every home and business in America, the Postal Service can help your business manage returns and at the same time improve overall customer satisfaction.
For more information on Parcel Return Service or Merchandise Return Service options for your business, contact your local Postmaster or Sales Specialist, or email us