With e-commerce sales set to rise even higher around the holidays, retailers are also preparing for an influx of returns and refund requests. In order to meet this demand, returns platform Happy Returns has announced a new partnership with FedEx, which will allow customers to drop off their returns in a seamless, contact-free experience.
Launching in Los Angeles and rolling out nationwide by the end of October, the new partnership will let online shoppers return items at more than 2,000 FedEx Office locations across the country. Customers who have purchased from a Happy Returns retail partner will be able to initiate their return online at either the retailer’s website or the Happy Returns site. They will then receive a QR code, which will facilitate a contactless exchange.
“Happy Returns are friction free for shoppers,” said David Sobie, CEO and co-founder of Happy Returns. “To complete a return, they simply bring the products and QR code to their nearest location. Drop off takes 30 seconds, and refunds and exchanges are initiated on the spot. No more boxes, packing tape, or checking a credit card statement to receive a refund.”
With many shoppers concerned about the risk of shopping in-store, there is less opportunity to try-on items and confirm that they are the right purchase. This makes returns more likely to occur, but the same concerns about safety also apply to the returns process. By offering a distanced drop-off solution, Happy Returns is hoping to provide consumers a safe option that doesn’t require them to physically interact with staff.
Speed and efficiency are also priorities for consumers right now; recent studies have shown that there is an increase in the number of shoppers willing to pay for expedited shipping. With Happy Returns, the returns process is still free but consumers are now able to benefit from faster service than traditional solutions, as refunds are initiated as soon as the QR code is scanned at drop-off – rather than when the product is received by the merchant.
By partnering with FedEx, the returns platform has also expanded the accessibility of its solution. Happy Returns reports that the addition of FedEx Office drop-off points means that 68% of U.S. households are now within a 10-mile drive of a Happy Returns location. Consumers also don’t need to package their items, meaning that the process is as simple as bringing their product to the FedEx location – FedEx will take care of the packing and shipping.
Returning items through the partnership (instead of independently) makes the transport of returns much more efficient, both in terms of labor and environmental impact. FedEx consolidates the returns and makes multi-retailer deliveries to one of two Happy Returns processing hubs, ensuring that each delivery maximizes the available volume; this reduces the carbon footprint associated with excess shipments. The returns are also shipped in reusable totes, eliminating the need for cardboard boxes.
“Happy Returns is an exciting FedEx customer today, and we already ship all of their consolidated totes,” said Ryan Kelly, VP of global e-commerce marketing at FedEx. “The collaboration simply brings the volume and customer traffic directly into the FedEx network from the time of drop-off.”