End of July, the IPC Common Return Platform (CRP) hit six million cross-border items being returned through the system.
The lack of a return option or its complexity remains an important obstacle for customers to buy goods from a foreign website. More than 50% of online shoppers view free returns as very important, according to the IPC cross-border e-commerce shopper survey.
Cross-border consumers expect the same return options as they do for domestic purchases. However, cross-border returns are more complex to manage operationally since several postal networks from different countries are involved. Through INTERCONNECT, posts are in a position to respond to this need and hence increase e-commerce parcel volume, without any major operational changes. IPC’s return solution enables postal operators to collaborate on returning cross-border parcels to e-retailers.
With the IPC CRP solution, customers benefit from a priority postage-paid international return service for their customers. The system is as easy to use by the consumer as it would be for normal domestic returns. Either the e-retailer provides the customer with a return label or the customer requests it via internet or by phone. Once the customer has the label, all they need to do is drop the returned item at a post office or indicated facility together with the dedicated return label provided by the e-seller.
The CRP is based on a double-barcoded label, one for the accepting or dispatching post and the other for the authorising post receiving the returned parcel. The labels are generated by IPC in a direct interface with posts using the system.
The service allows returns to be accepted at postal counters without payment, which can then be returned through the postal network to the e-retailer, who authorises the return.
The CRP also supports the provision of customs documentation when applicable. E-retailers and customers can easily obtain track & trace data on the returned parcel via their post’s website.
IPC’s Common Return Platform serves several international postal products including EPG, KPG, PRIME, EMS, UPU Parcels and INTERCONNECT. Up to 30 posts are currently using this solution.
The chart below depicts the standard process using the CRP: