October 4, 2023

Uber Connect expands into returns shipping


Uber Connect, the local package delivery business of Uber Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: UBER), said Wednesday it has begun offering a service to handle returns.

Under the service, called Return a Package, an Uber driver will pick up sealed and prepaid packages at a customer location and drop them off at a local post office or FedEx Corp. or UPS Inc. location. Uber charges a $5 flat fee for up to five packages tendered at a time or a $3 fee for Uber One members.

The service is available in the nearly 5,000 cities where Uber has a presence, the company said.

Real-time tracking is available in the Uber app, the company said.

Gordon Glazer, who heads the postal practice for parcel consultancy Shipware LLC, said in a LinkedIn post Wednesday that the program can reduce the delays involved in handling a return after the parcels have been riding around in car trunks waiting for a convenient time to disgorge them. Glazer added that the service could be leveraged to support specialized retailer programs to divert returns to reprocessing centers, charitable donations and secure disposal.

Many customers are pushing retailers to offer free shipping for returns. However, the increased cost and complexity of reverse logistics has made retailers think twice before offering free shipping. Glazer said the flat fees for the service “put some customer skin in the game” and may represent a new way for retailers to offset the costs of handling and processing returns.


The second annual F3: Future of Freight Festival will be held in Chattanooga, “The Scenic City,” this November. F3 combines innovation and entertainment — featuring live demos, industry experts discussing freight market trends for 2024, afternoon networking events, and Grammy Award-winning musicians performing in the evenings amidst the cool Appalachian fall weather.

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