In hopes of increasing its percentage of online holiday sales, PayPal this morning announced the expansion of its free returns service, “Return Shipping on Us,” which is now available in the U.S for the first time nearly a year after its initial debut overseas. The service, which encourages users to pay with PayPal in order to take advantage of this additional buyer protection, is now live in 37 total markets worldwide as of this morning, the company says.
The timing of the U.S. launch is also meant to coincide with the kick off of holiday shopping season, which seems to be getting earlier every year. Last year, Black Friday effectively turned into a week or more of online sales, retailers reported. PayPal today notes that it actually saw a holiday sales spike starting on September 30th in 2014, and is expecting to see that same trend of early shopping continue this year.
With the expansion of the Return Shipping on Us service to the U.S., PayPal is making the option available in its largest market, which should impact both the company’s bottom line as well as the accompanied lift in sales the feature is meant to encourage. Although PayPal won’t detail how much covering these returns is costing the company, it would say that “millions” of customers have used the feature worldwide since going live in its first market, France, roughly a year ago.
The idea with offering to cover the cost of returns is about pushing more shoppers to buy from PayPal merchants – especially unfamiliar merchants, or overseas merchants – that they wouldn’t have normally considered. The added protection makes the sale feel safer – if the product doesn’t work out for whatever reason, they won’t be out additional money to ship it back.
The feature is also another way PayPal is boosting cross-border sales, a transaction type that now accounts for a quarter of PayPal sales.
To use Return Shipping on Us, PayPal shoppers head to PayPal.com/returns, then fill out an online form and provide a copy of their sales receipt. The claim has to be filed with 2 weeks of shipping, and then PayPal processes the refund within 10 to 14 days, the company says. There are no exclusions to the returns service at this time. (Well, besides digital goods, which naturally, don’t involve anything in need of being shipped back.) However, the refunds are capped at $30 and limited to 4 purchases, the company notes.
Alongside the U.S. launch, Return Shipping on Us is also going live today in five other markets, including Italy, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, and South Africa. In total, the service now reaches nearly 40 markets worldwide.