The Season of Returns

Providing retailers and consumers accessible, easy to use and convenient returns

The holiday season is a time of traditions. Family gatherings, lavish meals and good cheer abound, and, of course, there is plenty of gift-giving. Increasingly, many of us have another holiday tradition – returns of some of those non-quite-right gifts.

Helping facilitate the returns process is a growing part of the Postal Service business, and an important role in our mission of service for the American public. We are a familiar part of people’s daily lives, and with more than 30,000 Post Office™ locations nationwide, we have an unparalleled infrastructure to support the easy and convenient drop-off of return packages. And if the return is a certain weight, we can pick it up right from your mailbox.

We are now strengthening our returns offering.  As part of our 10-year Delivering for America plan, we are introducing USPS Connect™: Returns, a program that provides free, contactless pick-up from any home mailbox or doorstep, six days a week, with little more than a printed label and a notification on the USPS mobile® app.

We are also upgrading our Post Office kiosks to give the growing number of consumers that do not own or have easy access to a printer the ability to simply and effortlessly print labels and process return packages using their mobile devices. Tracking technologies, too, are being enhanced to improve the quality of our tracking data to provide our business senders with improved insights into their shipments.

Returns are also becoming less of a seasonal phenomenon. The offer of free returns now significantly impacts consumer buying habits, and the rise of online shopping has brought the practice of bracketing into the mainstream, with a growing number of people buying multiple versions of an item with the intention of returning some of them.

Retailers and consumers want ease and flexibility in the returns process.  The Postal Service infrastructure and the fact that we serve every address in the nation at least six days a week makes us a natural fit to support package returns for the nation, and what industry insiders call “the last mile in reverse.”

I love that I get to help drive the growth of our returns business and help the Postal Service play a very useful role at every home and business.  We’re making the returns process easy and convenient so that we’re always the first choice whenever it’s time to return an item.

By Frank Corcoran, USPS Brand Marketing

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