rolled out an electronic return label that capitalizes on the power of the Internet, letting businesses send e-mail shipping labels directly to customers who need to return merchandise.
The service is available through UPS OnLine WorldShip software.
Rival FedEx also offers return services, including FedEx NetReturn, which already allows users to e-mail an Express or Ground shipping label to a customer and choose between pickup or drop off.
UPS said that when customers receive the e-mail from a user of its service, they can simply click on a link to retrieve the label, print it on a regular sheet of paper, apply it to the package and send the package back via UPS.
The e-mail also gives the customer a link to listings and maps of the nearest UPS drop-off location; a tracking number to check the status of the package at any time, and a receipt. The service is priced at 75 cents per transaction.
"The Electronic Return Label brings our total returns options to eight, which gives businesses more flexible choices from a single carrier than they've ever had before," said Gary Mastro, vice president of brand and product marketing.
UPS said it now handles tens of millions of packages every year shipped through its returns services.
UPS claims to have developed the first industry standards for returns: Call Tags and the Authorized Return Service label. Other return options include everything from a basic return label to its sophisticated "Returns on the Web" mechanism, an automated returns processing system for high-volume, contractual shippers who want to integrate an online return option into their Web site.
UPS, matching a similar service from FedEx, unveils technology that lets merchants send an e-mail shipping label directly to customers who need to return merchandise.