PayPal Expands Return Shipping Program For Holidays

In preparation for the holiday shopping season, PayPal is expanding its “Return Shipping on Us” service, a program that refunds return shipping costs to consumers on eligible online purchases using PayPal. The service will now be available to PayPal users in the U.S., in addition to the nearly 40 markets in which it already exists, such as Australia, France, Italy, Spain and others.

The company said it chose to expand the service into the U.S. because, for the last several years, PayPal’s transaction data saw spikes occurring on September 30, indicating that shoppers are starting their holiday shopping much sooner than Black Friday. 

Additionally, according to a PayPal and Ipsos’ cross border study, overall e-commerce spending is expected to grow by 10% in 2015 to $50 billion, but many shoppers are discouraged by added shipping costs. High return shipping costs are discouraging more than half of online shopper globally from making repeat purchases and 48% of American shoppers view free return shipping as a necessity when purchasing online, the company found.

The Return Shipping on Us program is said to help alleviate this pain point for online shoppers while also helping to eliminate cross-border sales barriers for global online retailers. Shoppers who have activated the service and are looking to return an item will now be able to request a refund on return shipping costs within 14 days of mailing the return and, once approved, will be reimbursed for costs up to $30 on eligible PayPal purchases from PayPal merchants worldwide.

“Options like refunds on return shipping costs, formerly considered a perk or promotional tool offered by retailers, are now integral to getting a consumer to click that buy button online,” said Jo Lambert, vp/consumer product and engineering at PayPal. “By providing this option, we are also supporting our merchants who are not already providing this type of service a potential lucrative revenue driver that can help grow their customer base to shoppers that may not have purchased from them previously, out of concern over shipping costs.” 

In the United States, the service allows up to four refunds up to $30 per claim on eligible online purchases from October 12, 2015 to January 31, 2016 (some exclusions do apply).