UPS will begin a pilot program to test Parcel Return Service (PRS), allowing customers to return items — originally shipped by UPS — to participating retailers using the Postal Service for pickup. Consumers will gain the convenience of USPS access points for a return pickup — collection boxes, Post Offices, and Free Package Pickup from home or business addresses.
USPS will consolidate the PRS packages at designated postal facilities, where they will be picked up by UPS for the final return leg of the trip back to the retailer.
Returned packages are a growing market segment, thanks to increased Internet and catalog sales and the recycling of small electronics. Market studies indicate that in order to maintain consumer loyalty and repeat business, the returns process must be easy.
The Postal Service developed PRS for merchants that experience a large number of returns and want to provide their customers with a convenient return solution, and for shipping consolidators or reverse logistics providers. PRS has shown steady growth, with more than 50 million packages shipped and more than $148 million in revenue since its launch in 2003.
“Working with UPS on this extension of PRS combines the strengths of both companies, leveraging the Postal Service’s unparalleled reach to every address in the United States,” said Jim Cochrane, vice president of Ground Shipping. “The added value of high visibility and the convenience of the most extensive network of drop-off and pick-up options available in the consumer market today make this service unbeatable.”
UPS will begin pilot programs using PRS in late February. Watch for PRS service talks and other information from Ground Shipping before the launch.