Sunday, January 27, 2013

UPU to work on return of goods bought online

 
23.01.2013 - The Universal Postal Union has said it is working on a new international return service to help customers looking to send back unwanted goods purchased through foreign websites . E-commerce continues to be a boon for postal services, boosting mail volumes. And while it booms, the UPU is working on an international return service for customers to easily send back unwanted merchandise bought online.
 
On the back of a UPU Congress decision adopted in 2012, the work will include developing a transparent accounting mechanism to ensure reasonable regional air conveyance costs, defining rates to cover a destination Post’s collection costs and coordinating the new service with customs officials to ensure smooth handling of return merchandise at borders.
“This service is often available domestically, but needs to be developed at the international level. It is an essential service to have for fostering cross-border e-commerce and allowing Posts to grow their business in this market,” says Christine Bétrémieux, who manages the parcels and logistics programme at the UPU.
Joost Magielsen, from PostNL, the Dutch designated operator, leads the UPU’s return-service working group. He says having the new optional service ready by January 1, 2014, when the updated UPU Convention and regulations come into effect, will be challenging. But he hopes the UPU can piggy-back on existing systems and developments to move forward quickly. “The new service has to meet several international challenges, such as affordability, traceability and priority processing,” he says.
The UPU will work with other postal entities already operating or exploring return solutions to save on development and maintenance costs, as well as to reduce the ‘time to market’ for the new service, adds Magielsen.
Traffic of international parcels reached 58 million items in 2011, according to UPU statistics. Since 2006, this business segment has experienced annual growth of 5.3 per cent and it is expected to continue to increase. The Interactive Media in Retail Group predicts that total business-to-consumer e-commerce sales will pass the trillion-euro mark in 2013