Amazon Extends UPS as Option for Seller-Fulfilled Returns
Retail Dive | October 20, 2022
Beyond Amazon's status as UPS’ largest customer, Amazon is also a notable driver of returns made through the parcel carrier. That was the case before Amazon rolled out the new option for seller-fulfilled returns — customers can return eligible items for free at more than 4,768 UPS Store locations, Amazon noted in a January blog post.
UPS Store locations are a crucial piece in Amazon’s current returns processing approach, as “nobody does returns better,” wrote Dean Maciuba, managing partner USA at Crossroads Parcel Consulting, in a LinkedIn post.
Amazon has made up a smaller share of UPS’ total revenue since it aggressively expanded its own logistics network to keep up with pandemic-fueled demand. The company was tied to 11.7% of UPS’ total revenue in 2021, down from 13.3% in 2020, according to a securities filing from the parcel carrier.
Amazon’s new, experimental UPS returns option specifically applies to items under its Prepaid Returns Label program. Through the program, Amazon sends customers a prepaid return shipping label on the seller’s behalf if a customer requests a return within the allowable time period, according to EcomCrew, a blog run by online store owners. Sellers who fulfill their own Amazon orders, rather than using the company’s own fulfillment services, are automatically enrolled in this program.
Most third-party sellers on Amazon have a returns policy mirroring what the company offers, but they can still vary, according to the company’s website. These sellers, which fulfill and ship their own inventories, must provide a U.S. return address, a prepaid return label or offer a full refund without needing the item returned.