January 3 promises to be the longest day of the year for UPS employees as they process a record level of returns to retailers.
According to UPS estimates, package shipment volumes will reach a record level of 520,000 returns to retailers on January 3 and total return volume will reach two million packages the first week of January. The record level of return activity isn’t surprising considering online sales also are expected to set new record this year. In fact, UPS said it expects to ship an estimated 135 million packages worldwide this week with approximately 28 million deliveries are forecast to occur on Thursday, December 20.
With all that package volume, computer systems at UPS will also be working overtime to process tracking requests and more than 400 additional flights per day have been added to process some three million express shipments that will pass through the company’s international air hub in Lousiville, Ky.
"We’ve seen a 15% increase in retail returns over last year," said David Sisco, UPS retail marketing director. "UPS research shows that 63% of online shoppers review a retailer’s returns policy before making a purchase."
It’s somewhat surprising that figure isn’t higher, but UPS arrived at that figure after commissioning online measurement firm comScore to conduct an online customer experience study. In addition, the study also found that 48% of online purchases would shop more often with a particular retailer if they were to offer a lenient, easy-to-understand returns policy.