Athletic-inspired fashion retailer Hibbett is adding Happy Returns Return Bars to its more than 1,100 Hibbett and City Gear stores across the U.S., allowing online shoppers to quickly return items from hundreds of retailers without the need for boxes or labels.
Hibbett hopes that accepting returns from other retailers in its stores will increase foot traffic and help to introduce its brand to new customers, something that similar programs have done for other retailers. For example, when Kohl’s first piloted the launch of Amazon return kiosks in 2017, it saw new customers increase 9% at test locations compared to 1% increases at other stores. That partnership has since been expanded chainwide.
“Innovation is a key operating principle for Hibbett as we continuously look for ways to improve the shopper experience and adapt to ever-changing consumer needs and wants,” said Ben Knighten, SVP of Store Operations for Hibbett in a statement. “We are helping expand the Happy Returns network with the added convenience of more than 1,100 new Return Bars and introducing Happy Returns shoppers to the best-in-class Hibbett and City Gear customer experience.”
To use Happy Returns, online shoppers retrieve a QR code from the website where they purchased their item, then bring that item to a Return Bar and drop it off, unboxed, for an immediate refund. Customers who use Return Bars in Hibbett or City Gear stores also will receive a coupon to use in-store once their return is completed.
“Returns are finally being recognized for their importance in the shopping journey,” said David Sobie, VP of Happy Returns in a statement. “Shoppers have no patience for printing labels or boxing items to return via mail and instead overwhelmingly choose to return box-free and in person whenever possible. With the addition of Hibbett’s stores to our network, we now have over 6,000 Return Bars, which means 78% of American households are within a 10-mile drive of a Happy Returns drop-off location.”
Happy Returns, which was acquired by PayPal in 2021, isn’t the only company trying to make the complicated issue of online returns more convenient and cost-effective:
- Amazon continues to expand its network of in-store returns drop-off points, which in addition to Kohl’s now also includes a pilot at Staples;
- FedEx plans to launch its new Consolidated Returns solution in early 2023, which will allow shoppers who purchase items from participating retailers to drop returns with no box or label at FedEx Office locations;
- DoorDash has introduced a new Package Pickup service, allowing consumers to have the service deliver up to five return items per trip to UPS, FedEx or the USPS; and
- Overstock.com is piloting a new returns program with UPS that will allow Overstock customers to schedule doorstep pickup for returns of unwanted furniture, with no re-boxing required.