Years ago, the possibility to return goods that were bought online was not simple and created many bottlenecks and delays, causing issues for both the consumer and the e-retailers, making the process unnecessarily complicated. As online shopping gained popularity, it became vital that the process was streamlined and that consumers were able to return their packages simply and for free. The IPC Returns Service provided through the IPC Common Return Platform (CRP) responds to the needs of both e-retailers and customers for an easy to use return process for cross-border e-commerce items. It provides e-retailers with a priority postage-paid label for their customers, either inside the original parcel or accessible through the internet.

How does it work?

IPC’s CRP enables postal operators to collaborate on returning cross-border parcels to e-retailers. It allows e-customers in the country of destination to return goods to e-sellers in the country of origin of the goods, free of charge, to the consumer. Access to IPC CRP is via an Application Programming Interface (API). Posts and merchants can decide whether to build a directVinterface with their customers or if they wil access the service via IPC’s Dynamic Merchant Platform (DMP). The IPC Return Service supports different models depending on the e-buyer and merchant’s needs. The system allows the merchants to include a return label on the original shipment, allowing e-buyers the return of the item, but CRP also supports the model when labels are generating upon demand of the e-buyer and once the initial item was delivered. In both cases, the system deals with all the customs requirements, thus if the item is being returned outside the region, the system ensures that the correct customs documentation is attached together with the returned label.

When a label is requested on the CRP, the system pre-advises the Accepting Post about the creation of the return label. Posts can use this pre-advice to integrate the data in their systems avoiding double data capturing, but posts can also use this to avoid any potential fraud as the system uses unique barcodes for the return labels. The CRP allows posts to offer two types of labels. A dual label for parcels and a single label for letters and small packages. In both cases, CRP labels avoid posts to overlabel their cross-border returns. The label format is also correlates with the network used by the post to return the item.

Once the customer has the label, they simply have to drop their unwanted purchase at a post office or indicated facility together with the dedicated CRP label provided by the e-seller. IPC’s CRP serves several international postal products including


  • Enables postal operators to increase sales and attract new customers
  • Allows e-retailers to respond to consumer needs
  • Provides cross-border customers with the same service that they receive domestically
  • Comply with legislation and e-buyer’s rights when buying on-line
  • Avoids over-labelling and deliveries will become more effective due to the usage of standard labels
  • Full track and trace information on the returned item
  • Dedicated performance and billing reporting capabilities for CRP items to posts involved as well as a dedicated customer service in case of inquiries.

A simple returns system for cross-border e-commerce

If the delivered item does not include a pre-printed return label, the following process applies for cross-border returns through the IPC CRP.


Dedicated monitoring, reporting and track & trace

E-retailers and e-customers can easily obtain track and trace data on the returned parcel via their post website. Moreover, IPC offers dedicated performance and billing reporting capabilities for CRP items to posts involved as well as a customer service for inquiries if needed.

More information

To know more about the IPC Returns Service, contact us via e-mail at