Happy Returns locations expand to over 5,000 with Ulta Beauty Returns bars


PayPal announced that it is expanding its services by allowing retailers with PayPal Checkout to use the Happy Returns and Exchange portal at no additional cost, to improve the buyer experience when processing returned goods. Added services include a new returns bar partnership with Ulta Beauty offering shoppers in-person returns at more than 1,300 locations nationwide. In September last year, PayPal’s Happy Returns added 1,000 locations when partnering with Staples and will now have over 5,000 locations. With this expansion, 78% of Americans will live within 10 miles of a return bar, making the return process convenient and efficient for consumers.

Transparent returns help retain revenue

Happy Returns offers participating retailers, including recently announced retailers currently using PayPal Checkout, the ability to use proprietary software that coordinates returns and exchanges for customers for processing online or on-site at one of back bars. Happy Returns helps retailers streamline the returns process and provide customers with a better shopping experience. David Sobie, Vice President of Happy Returns, PayPal, said, “By offering Happy Returns software free to PayPal Checkout retailers, we are providing merchants with a post-purchase solution that helps them retain revenue and gives them a competitive edge. in today’s market. Happy Returns software automates returns and exchanges and provides a friendlier customer flow. “As returns volumes continue to increase, this is a critical time for merchants to implement efficient and cost-effective solutions that better equip them to handle the growing role that returns play in retail,” Sobie said.

The Return Bar process allows customers to file returns without packaging or printing paperwork and provides this service in less than 60 seconds. A QR code is given to the customer and they bring the item and code to the return center for immediate return. Returns are then aggregated into consolidated shipments and sent to a central processing center which reduces return costs and provides a more sustainable model.

Return bars drive in-store traffic and customer engagement

Customers can decide to exchange products or get a refund. For retailers like Ulta Beauty, Happy Returns allows customers to select return locations based on their preferences and convenience. Sobie co-founded Happy Returns in 2015, which was recently acquired by PayPal in 2021, and he believes the company helps significantly reduce a retailer’s costs incurred from product returns. Sobie said: “Happy Returns offers retailers a more sustainable and less expensive way to handle returns and, on average, retailers using the service are saving over 20% on returns processing.

From a retailer’s perspective, making returns easier and more convenient for customers can help build loyalty. Kecia Steelman, Chief Operating Officer of Ulta Beauty, said, “We are excited to welcome Happy Returns to the Ulta Beauty family to provide our customers with greater convenience. Based on a pilot of the Happy Returns process, Ulta Beauty saw increased in-store traffic and high engagement with customers who used Return Bars.

Returns are a challenge for retailers as online sales increase

Returns continue to be an ongoing issue for the retail industry and the National Retail Federation showed that returns have fallen from 10.6% of total retail sales in 2020 to 16.6% in 2021, totaling $761 billion in returned products last year. As online shopping continues to grow, returns have grown in tandem. Online sales have a higher return rate than in-store sales, with online returns accounting for 20.8% of total online sales.

Online digital natives earn big with Happy Returns

Many digital native brands such as REVOLVE, Gymshark, American Giant, Rothy’s, and Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James clothing line use Happy Returns and Exchange to manage customer returns. As these brands do not have physical stores, Return Bars become an important return or exchange solution for customers. Sobie explained how online customers prefer to use Happy Returns return bars onsite at a 70% rate rather than mailing back unwanted goods.

International expansion on the horizon

Happy Returns customers in Europe and Canada can now configure the returns process in a localized manner with eight languages ​​available for international businesses. According to the company, the appropriate language is automatically displayed based on the shopper’s location, with all on-screen instructions translated, including personalized copy provided by the merchant. The Returns Portal also includes a robust dashboard that allows the merchant to run detailed returns data reports and respond to customer inquiries related to returns in real time. “Happy Returns has allowed us to offer seamless exchanges to our customers around the world, allowing us to retain revenue that we would otherwise have lost,” said Niran Chana, International President of Gymshark.

The Happy Returns solution for international businesses currently only handles online returns, but Sobie explained that having return bars would be a logical progression for the business. For international customers, the company is focusing on better logistics to coordinate returns through its carriers and facilities. Sobie said, “We have focused on one market, the United States, but with our acquisition of PayPal we have the ability to grow the business overseas more quickly.” The company has reached a pivotal moment in its history. “We are capable of dreaming bigger,” Sobie shone.

The PayPal platform empowers more than 425 million consumers and merchants in more than 200 global markets. PayPal’s Happy Returns works with over 300 retailers and brands.


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