Happy Returns, a technology, logistics and service provider for online retailers, today announced $8 Million of additional funding to support its rapid growth and expansion. The Series B funding round was led by USVP with participation from existing investors Upfront Ventures and Trunk Club founder Brian Spaly. As part of the financing, USVP General Partner Rick Lewis will join the company’s Board of Directors.
Happy Returns’ new funding comes after six months of explosive growth following the completion of its Series A financing in May. The company has expanded its Return Bar network to 50 locations in 14 metro areas, added multiple new retailer partners, and seen the volume of returns processed through its in-person returns network grow by 700%.
Happy Returns’ growth has accelerated amid a growing recognition across retail that customers expect in-person returns and expedited refunds, a trend underscored by Amazon’s recent partnership with Kohl’s to accept returns in stores this holiday season. A recent Happy Returns report conducted by Forrester retail analyst Sucharita Mulpuru, Returns Happen: A Growing Opportunity for Retailers, concluded that 85% of online shoppers are more likely to shop from retailers that are able to offer free, in-person returns with an immediate refund.
When it comes to ecommerce, a seamless return process has been one of the biggest challenges. Over the last couple of years, many retailers have worked diligently to improve this process, however, improvements seem to be moving slow.
Customers pay far more attention to a retailer’s attitude toward product returns than many retailers realize — making poor returns policies and cumbersome returns processes a significant obstacle to future sales. A staggering 88 percent of consumers say ease of returns is an important factor in choosing where to shop, according to research by JDA Software.
One reason returns take so long for many retailers is that their product returns processes are too manual. They view returns as an unpleasant cost of doing business, not an opportunity to enhance customer service. Returns processing is regarded as a low-priority operation more focused on recovering lost value than in promoting future value.
“We’ve been tracking Happy Returns and are excited to participate in their growth,” said Rick Lewis, Partner at USVP. “We believe this is a uniquely qualified team capitalizing on market trends, and we are impressed with how efficiently they have scaled the business.”
“U.S. Venture Partners shares our vision of a complete online returns solution that’s more satisfying for customers and more cost-effective for retailers, and we’re thrilled to have them as a partner,” said David Sobie, Co-Founder and CEO of Happy Returns. “USVP understands that in-person returns are just the tip of the iceberg, and this investment enables us to accelerate our technology roadmap to solve more pain points for retailers and their shoppers.”
The company will use the investment to expand its network of Return Bar locations while building out multiple new product offerings and aggressively investing in their operations, sales and engineering teams to meet increasing demands for their products.
By Lolita A. Alford