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New FedEx Service Shows the Scale of Online Returns


FedEx is launching a new service for online merchants to deal with customer returns, an ever-growing problem that has spawned a number of solutions to try and help retailers cope.

FedEx Consolidated Returns will launch in the US in early 2023 and offers what FedEx calls a “low-priced, easy e-commerce returns option that merchants can pass on to shoppers.”

Customers don’t need to package and box their returns, nor do they need to print a label – they can use a QR code. The returned items are then consolidated with returns from other sellers and ultimately processed and returned to the merchants.

Here’s how the carrier described the new offering in Monday’s announcement:

“FedEx Consolidated Returns is facilitated through supply chain services offered by FedEx Logistics and FedEx Office. Shoppers who purchased from participating merchants can drop off the items they wish to return – 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 merchants, saving materials and space. The items are then processed through FedEx Logistics and sent back to the merchants via a less-than-truckload option.”

FedEx said the new solution marks the latest addition to the growing FedEx Returns portfolio, “which also includes printer-less and package-less return options at over 10,000 locations nationwide.”

Logistics consultant Cathy Roberson wondered how the new initiative announced today was different from FedEx’s partnership with Happy Returns announced in 2020. (PayPal acquired Happy Returns last year.)

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.