Ryan Kelly FedEx

The 2020 holiday season broke sales records for online commerce as more shoppers decided to purchase online due to the COVID pandemic for health and safety reasons. But with the increased sales experienced by sellers also come increases in returns and making the return process easy is important for customer retention.

We talked with Ryan Kelly, FedEx vice president of global ecommerce, about how FedEx technology helps small business owners compete with the large online stores and provide simple and convenient return solutions.

Q: Shoppers are finding more online merchants and marketplace sellers that offer liberal return policies, especially during the holiday season. But what are still some of the biggest friction points for shoppers with actually returning a product?

A: Recent FedEx research shows returns absolutely matter to online shoppers. 52% of those surveyed have abandoned a shopping cart due to the returns policy. Customers want a hassle-free experience that includes free shipping (or to be able to return a purchase to a storefront) and easy access to a shipping label. FedEx offers an extensive portfolio of returns transportation, label creation options and technology to provide a frictionless experience for both consumers and retailers.

Q: How can online merchants and marketplace sellers use FedEx technology to make the return process easier?

A: FedEx continues to invest in our extensive retail network. More than 92% of the U.S. population lives within 5 miles of a staffed FedEx location, including FedEx Office, Walgreens, Kroger & Dollar General. This is a huge competitive advantage when bundled with returns, because it offers a highly convenient and low-cost tender solution to control first mile costs for online retailers.

In addition, our Walgreens alliance has also been expanded to support no label solutions to consumers through FedEx Returns Technology. A customer can receive a QR code on their mobile device, and scan it at Walgreens to avoid the hassle of printing a return label themselves. (This can be done at FedEx Office & FedEx Ship Centers as well) So, if your retailer has provided you with a QR code, you can take it to participating FedEx Office, Walgreens, or FedEx Ship Center locations, and you won’t have to worry about printing anything.

FedEx Office Packing Service
Source: FedEx

Q: Sellers sometimes complain returns they receive are packaged poorly and even arrive broken. As an extreme example, in a Facebook group I once saw a seller post a picture of a return that was shipped in a used pizza box. How can FedEx help sellers improve the quality of the returns they receive so they can avoid disagreements with buyers on how the item was returned?

A:  With the FedEx Pack & Return Program, merchants of any size can provide return shippers with hassle-free return services, including pre-paid packing and shipping. Pack & Return is integrated with FedEx Returns Technology to help merchants create return merchandise authorizations (RMAs), gain real-time visibility into incoming returns, and use reporting tools to better manage returns. For detailed information about FedEx Returns Technology, visit https://www.fedex.com/en-us/shipping/returns/technology.html.

Q: Online commerce is about convenience, but for consumers, online returns are often not that convenient. When buying at a retail store, shoppers know where to go to return the product. How is FedEx helping sellers overcome this convenience concern with shoppers on returns? 

A: Again, this is where our retail network and FedEx Returns Technology are key. We’re able to offer merchants a convenient way for shoppers to return goods and get that very important receipt.

We want to thank Ryan Kelly for taking the time to explain how FedEx can make a seller’s return processes easy. While many sellers fret returns, returns can also lead to more sales if customers feel the return process was efficient and professional. FedEx, as a world-class leading logistics company, offers many options for sellers to enable them to give the customer service today’s online shoppers expect.

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