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USPS works to grow returns shipping business

Smiling postal worker scans package
Employees like Roseville, MI, Retail Associate Eugene Purry are helping USPS build its shipping returns business.

Eugene Purry sees it a lot these days.

More customers are coming to the Roseville, MI, Post Office — where Purry works as a retail associate — to ship online purchases back to merchants.

“I’ve definitely seen an increase in package returns,” he said. “Customers are turning to us because of the convenience we offer.”

Purry isn’t the only one who has spotted the trend.

As online shopping continues to grow, returns are becoming a bigger part of the shipping business. By some estimates, returns comprise a $6 billion-a-year market.

Postal Service leaders say the organization is primed to capitalize on this growth.

One advantage: The USPS network includes 31,000 Post Offices where customers can bring merchandise to ship it back to retailers.

To better serve these customers, the Postal Service is testing Automated Package Drop self-service machines that allow users to mail pre-paid and merchandise return parcels at their convenience.

USPS has also made it easier for retailers to insure returns, and the organization offers a free package pickup service at many of the 157 million addresses it serves.

“If a customer would rather not make the trip to the Post Office, our carriers will pick up their package at their home or business,” said Delivery Operations Vice President Kevin McAdams. “It’s just one more way we are making this as convenient as possible.”

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