Happy Returns, a start-up service making it easier for shoppers to return online orders at malls and in stores, has closed on an additional $4 million Series A financing, led by Upfront Ventures.
Between seed financing and the Series A round, Happy Returns has raised $6 million.
“We believe returns are the next major area for innovation and disruption in commerce,” said Upfront partner Greg Bettinelli who has joined the Happy Returns board. Happy Returns, he added, “offers a unique and compelling option for online retailers and their customers, and an entry point into several exciting large business opportunities. “
Also on the board is Brian Spaly, cofounder of Bonobos and Trunk Club. Spaly participated in the financings.
On Wednesday, Happy Returns announced five more retailers are now on board with the service — Chubbies, City Chic, Jaanuu, Paul Evans and Yosi Samra. Previously, Everlane, Carbon38, Eloquii, Shoes of Prey and Tradesy, join the program. Customers ordering from these retailers now have the option to return purchases in person at Happy Returns kiosks or “return bars” in the common areas of malls, or at the concierge desk at certain malls.
Since starting in business in April 2016, Happy Returns has opened 40 return bars in 14 major metro areas in the U.S., including Garden State Plaza and Mall at Short Hills in New Jersey; Roosevelt Field Mall on Long Island; King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania, and The Galleria in Houston; Beverly Center, Westfield Topanga, Santa Monica Place and Westfield San Francisco in California.
Happy Returns has also begun a “neighborhood-based store and boutique strategy” and so far has 10 drop off locations in non-competitive boutiques.
Happy Returns is taking in just less than 10,000 items a month but growing fast, according to David Sobie, chief executive officer and cofounder of Happy Returns.
“With the recent announcement that Amazon will be accepting returns at Whole Foods, as well as the increasing demand by shoppers for free return shipping, retailers know offering a frictionless and even delightful return experience is quickly becoming a must-have to remain competitive,” Sobie said.
Sobie said with Happy Returns, returns involve no packing or shipping, and that there’s an immediate refund or credit, and retailers save money through decreased shipping and support costs. He also believes retailers can get higher customer satisfaction ratings with easier returns. For mall partners — Macerich, Westfield Corp. and Simon Property Group — the service brings additional traffic to their centers.
Other investors in the Santa Monica, Calif.-based Happy Returns include Lowercase Capital and Maveron.
“The mandate from raising the Series A funding is to grow our locations footprint and to add retailers,” Sobie said.
The company operates a central returns hub in L.A., which aggregates returned items from multiple shoppers into a single shipment to save retailers on the cost of shipping. The online retailers are charged a fee for participating in the Happy Returns service.
In a previous interview, Sobie said it takes about 45 to 60 seconds to return an item with Happy Returns. Those behind the kiosk, the “returnistas,” or at the concierge station, ask the shopper where the purchase was made, what e-mail was used to check it out, and then use an app to verify that the product is being returned within the allowed window of time and that the product was not a final sale. The returnistas make a quick inspection to determine the product is in returnable condition. They ask why the item is being returned and offer the return methods provided by the retailer.