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It’s April 12, 2023, and This Week in Parcel, a major retailer begins charging customers for certain returns, studies reveal customers’ preferences for fast shipping are changing, UPS increases fuel surcharges, and FedEx celebrates 50 years.

The race for speedy deliveries slows

Consumers now prefer slower deliveries if it means more reliable shipments and lower costs. As a result, the race to get customers their packages as quickly as possible is slowing down. Two years ago, 18% of consumers preferred same-day or next-day delivery. Last year, that figure dropped to 10%. As shipping costs rise, carriers have pushed the cost to the consumer. Those who once preferred speed are now looking for lower shipping costs, instead. The percentage of shoppers who prioritize costs has risen to 41% this year, up from 33% last year. To read more on this shift in consumer trends, click here.

Amazon is now charging for returns (on certain UPS Store returns)

Amazon is now charging customers for certain returns made to The UPS Store. A charge will occur if a free location option, like Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods, or Kohl’s, is within a similar distance. If a customer opts to return their package to a UPS Store location instead of a free option, they may incur a $1 fee. This is just one of many cost-cutting decisions the company has made in recent months. Amazon has also closed warehouses, canceled plans for new ones, and laid off employees to reduce expenses. To learn more about this new decision, click here. If you’re a retailer struggling to keep up with the cost of returns, now is the time to re-evaluate if your return policy is optimized before this year’s peak shipping season.

UPS updates fuel surcharges, effective April 17, 2023

UPS updated its fuel surcharge table, raising prices by roughly 1% in each bracket. These changes will be effective on April 17, 2023. This update will affect UPS Ground, UPS Ground with Freight Pricing, UPS Hundredweight Service, UPS SurePost, and UPS Basic. It does not apply to UPS Ground packages subject to retail rates originating in the 48 contiguous United States. To see a breakdown of all UPS surcharges, click here.

FedEx celebrates 50 years

While FedEx was founded in 1971, the carrier decided to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year because 1973 was the year the company moved to Memphis International Airport. On its first night of operations at Memphis International Airport, the company, then known as Federal Express, had fewer than 400 employees and shipped fewer than 200 packages that night. The company now averages over 15.5 million packages shipped per day and employs more than 500,000 people globally. FedEx has shipped everything from the Vince Lombardi Trophy to Tyrannosaurus Rex skeletons. Commercial Apparel recently compiled a list of 50 FedEx facts in honor of the carrier’s anniversary, which you can read here.
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