The Rise of Printerless Returns and the Demand for Out-of-Home Delivery Options

In the world of e-commerce, returns are an inevitable part of the process. Whether it’s due to a defective product, a wrong size, or simply a change of heart, customers expect a hassle-free return policy. In recent years, the rise of printerless returns has been a game-changer for both customers and retailers.

What are Printerless Returns?

Traditionally, when a customer wanted to return an item purchased online, they would need to print a shipping label and send the item back to the retailer, or the retailer would provide pre-printed labels with the original order. However, printerless returns eliminate the need for a printer, and save retailers from printing labels that may never be used.

Instead, the customer can receive a digital label which is scanned at a designated location, such as a parcel locker or parcel shop, and the label is printed and attached before the parcel is deposited. Then, it’s up to the carrier and the retailer to take care of the rest.

Why are Printerless Returns on the Rise?

Printerless returns are becoming increasingly popular for several reasons.

Firstly, there is no need for a printer, which eliminates the hassle of finding a place to print a return label. This aligns with the eco-conscious values of many consumers, who appreciate the environmental impact of reducing waste from unused printed labels and unnecessary printing.

Additionally, handling returns can be costly for retailers, especially with the increase in online shopping. Retailers are seeking ways to reduce these costs, which can include eliminating return slips to streamline the process.

Printerless returns also provide ease of use and convenience. Consumers can initiate returns through a retailer’s website or app and receive a QR code or digital label on their mobile device. This can be scanned at a drop-off location, simplifying the process.

Data shows that 30% of consumers who choose paperless returns send back their packages on the same day they create the return online, which is faster than traditional methods. The ability to simply scan a QR code and drop off a package makes the process quicker and less cumbersome.

The Importance of Proper Label Attachment

However, there are potential risks associated with printerless returns. If the onus is on the carrier to print and apply labels for multiple packages at the point of collection, there is a risk of label mix-up, leading to items being sent to the wrong recipient. To mitigate this risk, it is recommended that shipping labels are added before depositing. This requires a printer at the parcel drop-off location.

How does the Rise of Printerless Returns Affect Delivery Options?

As printerless returns become more popular, there is a growing demand for out-of-home delivery options.

Out-of-Home (OOH) delivery provides convenience by offering flexible delivery locations. Recipients can choose a pick-up point that is convenient for them, such as parcel lockers, collection offices, designated pick-up locations, or local stores, and will highlight which of the locations provide printerless returns. This eliminates the need to wait at home for deliveries or coordinate schedules with delivery drivers.

There are limitations on some OOH delivery options. Collection from a post office or local store providing PUDO services can be restricted by opening hours. Additionally, many local convenience stores are limited with space, and therefore may not accept larger packages.

The Award-Winning solution: The Drop Box Locker with built-in label printer.

Parcel Pending by Quadient designed the Drop Box Locker with both carrier and consumer needs in mind.

These lockers allow customers to receive or send their packages at a convenient location, such as a local store or a train station, and print their return labels using the built-in label printer. This not only saves customers and carriers time and hassle, but it also reduces the risk of accidental parcel mix-up.

These lockers bring benefits to the locations that host them too. Hosting a locker in our Open Locker Network provides customers with convenient parcel delivery and returns at your location from any carrier. This enhances customer loyalty and creates an additional revenue stream – all at no cost to you. Recent research shows that 40% of UK consumers have used businesses more regularly because they make parcel pick-up and drop-off simple. And 54% are likely to make additional purchases whilst doing so.

Are you interested in hosting our award-winning parcel locker with built-in label printer? Get in touch here.