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Returns forecast to hit peak today


After year of record online sales it’s not surprising that returns are also forecast to hit new highs, especially this week.

January 3 is expected to be the longest day of the year for UPS employees as they process a record level of returns to retailers, according to the carrier. 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 expected to ship an estimated 135 million packages worldwide the week prior to Christmas with approximately 28 million deliveries on Thursday, December 20.

With all that package volume, computer systems at UPS worked overtime to process tracking requests and more than 400 additional flights per day were added to process some three million express shipments that passed 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.

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