- FedEx is expanding its parcel pickup and drop-off partnership with Walgreens to include in-store label printing services for returns, according to an announcement on Tuesday. A FedEx spokesperson told sister publication Supply Chain Dive via email that the service will be available in 7,300 store locations out of the 9,000 it currently partners with.
- The system, called FedEx Returns Technology, allows retailers to send customers a return label code via email which they can then bring, along with their parcel, to a participating Walgreens location where a store associate can print the required label and ship the return.
- As peak season begins "it’s essential that retailers have an easy returns process that meets the expectations of today’s shoppers and carefully minds the growing costs," Ryan Kelly, FedEx Services vice president of global e-commerce marketing, said in a statement. He noted the company has found shoppers prefer to drop returns off at a physical location and is expanding its FedEx Returns Technology offering to take the hassle out of that process for both customers and retailers.
FedEx's partnership with Walgreens launched in January 2017 when the carrier announced it would open FedEx outlets and access points in 8,000 Walgreens stores. Since then, the carrier has partnered with Dollar General to offer parcel pickup and drop-off services in 8,000 stores by the end of 2020.
FedEx's label-printing service will take a key hassle out of the returns process for online shoppers, who have to often download, print and affix labels to their packages before shipping them. For customers without a printer at home, or who are simply on the go, this service can eliminate what David Sobie, CEO and co-founder of reverse logistics service provider Happy Returns, called the "arts and crafts" element of e-commerce returns.
As UPS found in a recent online shopper survey, more and more customers prefer to have online orders shipped to an address other than their residence for a variety of reasons including faster shipping times, security from theft, or general convenience. As a result, it has also been expanding its retail presence through its UPS Access Points and MyChoice programs. To date, UPS' network allows customers to pickup or drop off parcels at 38,000 locations worldwide including Michael's craft stores, CVS pharmacies and Advance Auto Parts locations.