Royal Mail announces launch of portal to help online retailers better manage returns

Royal Mail today announced the launch of a new portal to help online retailers better manage returns while also improving the experience for their customers.

The returns portal gives retailers full visibility of returned items – from exactly which items are being returned, from which customer and for what reason. This will enable retailers to improve stock management because they will know what return items to expect each day and can plan ahead with future orders and despatch times.

Royal Mail’s returns portal also enables online retailers to help their shoppers to benefit from an improved experience. They will have the ability to easily print off a returns label and monitor the progress of their item back to the retailer through Royal Mail’s enhanced Tracked Returns service, which now tracks at five points in Royal Mail’s network instead of two.

Helping online retailers meet the needs of their customers

The development of the new returns portal is part of Royal Mail’s on-going programme to continually improve our products and services to support online retailers and their shoppers.

Research has revealed the importance of a good returns experience for driving repeat purchases. Seven in 10 (72%) of shoppers have said they would be unlikely to shop with a retailer if they had a difficult returns experience.

Meanwhile, the Hall and Partners research also reveals that 83% of people trust Royal Mail to deliver their online purchases, more than any other national parcel company. Alongside this, the Post Office, the largest retail network in the UK with 11,500 branches, is the most preferred method for returning items.

Nick Landon Royal Mail’s managing director for fulfilment and parcels said: “Royal Mail is pleased to announce the launch of the new returns portal to help online retailers better manage returns while also improving the experience for their customers.

“Research shows the importance for online retailers to provide an easy returns experience for their customers if they want them to buy from them again. Seven in 10 people who have had a difficult experience returning unwanted items are unlikely to order from that retailer again.”

The introduction of the returns portal follows the launch last year of a new parcels shipping and tracking platform to enable e-retailers to improve integration between their IT systems and Royal Mail.

Royal Mail also made its Local Collect ‘click and collect’ service with Post Offices available to its 20,000 SME contract customers in 2014. This enables many of the UK’s leading small and medium size online businesses to offer shoppers the option of collection from any of 10,500 Post Office branches.

Last autumn, Royal Mail announced an investment of around £130m over five years in hand-held technology to provide more flexible delivery for customers and better tracking capability.