OREANDA-NEWS. UPS (NYSE:UPS) today said it will offer UPS Returns® Manager, a free online tool that allows e-commerce merchants to customize return shipments according to their policy.

By using this tool, UPS business customers can manage return shipments without having to integrate new technology into their own IT systems. Consumers using the service can print a return shipping label directly from ups.com tracking (website and mobile) and from email alerts. They also can print return labels at The UPS Store® locations at no additional cost.

UPS Returns Manager, which launches Aug. 14 in the United States and Aug. 28 in 43 additional countries, gives internet merchants a valuable tool to manage returns in a vast marketplace where shoppers send back hundreds of billions of dollars in merchandise each year. In fact, various industry estimates peg the cost of processing returns in a range of 10%-15% of the cost of goods sold.

"Online returns are a headache for many merchants and their customers. The UPS Returns Manager makes the process a lot easier," said Stu Marcus, UPS vice president of customer technology marketing. "It’s perfect for any shipper, especially small and mid-sized merchants that lack this capability in-house. UPS is the first logistics provider to offer the ability to create a return shipment through a tracking results page."

The new service allows UPS shippers to administer authorized return shipments, set their service level, request a reason for return and see reports on their shipments.

The outbound and return packages are linked in tracking, allowing for easy association of the two shipments.

UPS Returns Manager provides numerous benefits to merchants who ship with UPS:

The ability to pre-authorize returns shipments for specified accounts

A controlled, consumer-friendly returns process similar to those at large retail sites but without integrating technology

A source for business intelligence and other insights about reasons for returns

An immediate and hassle-free way to provide return labels to customers

A cost-effective alternative to placing a return label in every outbound package

Increased customer loyalty due to easy returns

A report published by the National Retail Federation shows that Americans returned $260.5 billion in merchandise – 8% of all purchases – to retailers in 2015. Other market research underscores the importance of shippers communicating returns policies to their consumers.

The 2017 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study shows that 75% of avid online shoppers have shipped returns back to the retailer and that many customers consider the terms of a merchant’s return policy when deciding whether to make a purchase. Data collected in 2015 and published by Invesp show that at least 30% of e-commerce orders are returned, compared with less than 9% of sales from brick-and-mortar stores.

UPS Returns Manager will be available in 44 countries and territories for intracountry and intraEuropean Union package returns.