New York (CNN Business)Soon, you may not need a label or a box when you’re trying to return something at FedEx.
The company is working with Happy Returns, an e-commerce return technology company. Customers will be able to return products in person — without a box or label — for an immediate refund or exchange from participating retailers.
At the FedEx hubs, returns are sorted by retailer, prepared for resale and shipped in bulk back to the retailer that sold them originally. Refunds and exchanges will be initiated by the retailer at the time of drop off.
For example, a customer exchanging a pair of shoes will have the new order shipped by the retailer who sold the original pair when the returned pair is dropped off at a FedEx Office.
The in-person return service will be available at more than 2,000 FedEx ( locations across the United States, including 343 Walmart stores that have a FedEx station in-store. The service will start in Los Angeles and expand nationwide by the end of October, the companies said in a press release. Every state will have a participating FedEx location. )
Here’s how it works: Shoppers will start their returns on FedEx’s website or at HappyReturns.com and receive a QR code. Customers then bring the item — by itself without a box or receipt — and the QR code to a FedEx office for the return, Returns are usually approved on the spot and in most cases, refunds and exchanges are initiated immediately.
The returned item does not need to have been shipped by FedEx. However, the retailer that sent the item needs to be a participating Happy Returns retailer for its shoppers to use this service.
Happy Returns currently works with more than 100 brands, including Revolve, Rothy’s, Everlane and Steve Madden. However, Amazon is not participating. Amazon and FedEx ended their relationship last year.
Across the board, big and small retailers are expanding their e-commerce capabilities.
So FedEx is tweaking and enhancing its parcel delivery services “in order to remain an attractive partner with those shippers,” Matthew Young, equity analyst at Morningstar Research Services, told CNN Business. “This is a key growth opportunity for FedEx,” he added,
For FedEx’s customers, shipment aggregation adds ease to the return process and helps reduce returns-related shipping costs.
FedEx isn’t the first company to do this. Customers can drop off Amazon ( packages without a box or label at some Whole Foods markets, )Kohl’s ( stores and )UPS ( stores. )
The box-free and label-free return option is meant to make returns easier for shoppers, which will be particularly crucial as the holiday season approaches.
Returning a package in the original manufacturer’s packaging also helps the companies focus on becoming more environmentally friendly. To clarify, the item being returned does need to include its own packaging, though. It just doesn’t need to have the external box or bag that it was originally shipped in. The process helps reduce the waste that’s created when shoppers buy and use a new box to ship out returns.