Happy Returns is an environmentally conscious reverse logistics company based in Los Angeles. Co-founders David Sobie and Mark Geller were working together at NordstromRack.com/HauteLook when they took the decision to go it alone with Happy Returns in July 2015. So, why did they attract the interest of PayPal, and how do Happy Returns work?
The PayPal Way
PayPal is a familiar name around the world for online payment processing, and since being originally established as Confinity by Max Levchin and Peter Theil in 1998, the firm has gradually become the preferred payment method for many. Most people are aware of the CEO of Tesla Inc and, under pressure SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s involvement in PayPal, but the significant milestone for the success of PayPal came through the acquisition by eBay in 2002 for $1.5bn.
After the acquisition by eBay, PayPal became prevalent across numerous business sectors by continually growing its reach internationally and adding currencies to its platform. Gradually, all sectors of industry that wanted to remain relevant saw the necessity to offer their clients the option to use PayPal for online payments. In the iGaming industry, for example, PayPal online casinos began to emerge and had the edge over competitors. The method of withdrawals and deposits has always been a key element when gamers decide which online casino to gamble with, and the convenience of using PayPal for this purpose remains attractive today.
While PayPal exited its relationship with eBay in 2015, there was no question that eBay shoppers would still be able to use PayPal as a payment option. In more recent times, PayPal has attracted attention and cultivated its global brand through the acquisition of innovative start-ups such as iZettle for $2.2bn and Hyperwallet for $400m. PayPal clearly knows how to accelerate its development, and that brings us to Happy Returns.
Many Happy Returns
Like most successful start-ups, David Sobie and Mark Geller identified a consumer desire and went about devising a simple solution to satisfy that wish. They recognized that online consumers’ overwhelming preference is to return purchases that didn’t meet their expectations in person rather than endure the aggravation and wait of using the postal system. To facilitate this need, Happy Returns Bars were set up across the US. Consumers are then able to visit the website and initiate the returns process for their eligible item with just a few clicks to provide them with a QR express code. They are then able to locate and visit their nearest Happy Returns Bar to return the item and receive an immediate refund or an agreed-upon exchange item.
Crucially, the consumer is not required to package or label the item they are returning, and all returned items are agglomerated and shipped in reusable containers to regional Happy Returns hubs for processing. Finally, the reverse logistics company processes all the returned items and ships them in bulk, again using reusable containers. The company, through Yorke Engineering, commissioned a study to evaluate the environmental impact of their process of not requiring consumers to package returns and the aggregated shipping of returns in reusable containers. The take-away from that study is that the reduction in cardboard waste coupled with lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to returns by mail makes Happy Returns better for the planet. As a company using innovation to solve consumer annoyance while broadly focused on the ethical concept of environmental sustainability soon attracted the interest of Fortune 500 organizations, particularly PayPal.
A Simple Solution
With the recent and mammoth rise in online shopping and resultant returns, PayPal’s acquisition for an undisclosed sum is all part of the process of continued global influence, now through consumers’ returns process. Since the acquisition, PayPal has expanded the Happy Returns service to over 5,000 locations and made the exchange and return portal software complimentary for PayPal Checkout merchants. This means that 78% of residents in the US now live within a 10-mile radius of a Happy Returns Bar, which is ensuring that the number of retailer partners continues to grow as they realize they need to provide this service to their customers. PayPal continues to make itself indispensable, both in the payments and returns process.
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