Online purchases are three times more likely to be returned than those made in a physical store, and in 2017, between $113 billion and $132 billion of ecommerce purchases were returned. That means that ecommerce retailers and shippers are taking a closer look at the process of returning goods, or reverse logistics, in order to find opportunities for savings and efficiencies. A new white paper from the U.S. Postal Services Office of Inspector General, Riding the Returns Wave: Reverse Logistics and the U.S. Postal Service,finds that the USPS has a smaller share of the returns market than the outbound market, suggesting room for growth.
The report suggests that USPS can continue to grow its returns business by better aligning service with the needs of both businesses and consumers and applying its advantages, such letter carriers that go to nearly every address in America six days per week; a retail network of more than 30,000 post offices; and 146,000 collection boxes for customer drop-offs.