FedEx will launch a consolidated returns service in 2023 that leverages less-than-truckload services to help shippers save costs, the carrier announced Monday.
FedEx Consolidated Returns will allow customers to return items without a box or shipping label at approximately 2,000 FedEx Office locations. From there, the product will be consolidated with other returns from a variety of merchants and sent back to the shipper through a less-than-truckload option via FedEx Logistics.
The service is being touted as a low-price option for shippers in a pricey reverse logistics market that’s seen the number of returns skyrocket since the pandemic.
FedEx has offered consolidation to strategic customers in the past, a company spokesperson said in an email. The consolidated returns program marks an expansion of the service to the broader market.
For every $1 billion in sales in 2021, the average retailer incurred $166 million in merchandise returns, according to a survey from the National Retail Foundation and Appriss Retail. Some retailers such as Zara have begun charging for returns despite pressure from customers for free shipping and return options.
“As the returns market grows, FedEx continues to explore innovative alternatives for our customers,” Ryan Kelly, vice president of e-Commerce and retail marketing at FedEx Services, said in a statement. “While this solution will provide a low-priced returns option for merchants, it’s also a simple, convenient process to help retailers deliver a shopper-friendly experience.”