The National Retail Federation predicts that 13% of the merchandise sold over the 2020 holiday season will be returned. The rapid e-commerce growth that occurred in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic will likely push holiday returns to new highs, since online orders are returned much more frequently than in-store purchases. The pandemic further complicates an already costly process by requiring returned products to be quarantined and sanitized. Retailers are faced with the task of simplifying the process for customers while trying to ease pressure on shipping companies – and their own operations.
To make the process more efficient, retailers including Walmart Inc and Target Corp let shoppers drop unwanted gifts at FedEx or United Parcel Service drop-off sites.