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The logistics of returns

Sally Herships Dec 28, 2015
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If you thought Santa had it tough, think about the U.S. Postal Service. Not only does it have to deliver presents, it also has to return them. After all, it’s not just you and that special Christmas sweater (thanks a lot, Aunt Mildred!).

Six hundred million packages were delivered between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and 62 million packages are expected to be returned this holiday season. So says Satish Jindel, part of the founding team of FedEx Ground and president of ShipMatrix, a research and consulting firm on transportation logistics.

Luckily, noted Jindel, like the statement your new holiday sweater makes, the Postal Service also benefits from being big.

“By far, they are the largest, because they go to every address, every day,” he said. That makes Making it easier, or relatively so, to handle returns. 

“People can put the package in the mailbox and don’t have to be at the house to hand it to the carrier.” Just remember, said Jindel, how many packages USPS delivered before the holidays. In comparison, he said, making returns is easy.

“The other nice thing about returns is they’re not date sensitive,” said Jarrett Streebin, founder and CEO of EasyPost, a shipping platform that e-commerce companies connect to carriers.

After the holidays, noted Streebin, the Postal Service is also handling new deliveries  from all those gift cards and holiday cash.

“People have extra money after the holidays, so they buy more stuff online.”

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