UPS acquires Happy Returns

It took new PayPal CEO Alex Chriss sixty days To determine that Happy Returns needed to be sold. UPS acquired Happy Returns from PayPal for an undisclosed amount. While PayPal Ventures invested in Happy Returns, PayPal owning it made little sense.

While being owned by PayPal, Happy Returns grew their offering:

  • Grew from 2,750 Return Bar locations to over 10,000, including partnerships with Ulta Beauty, Staples and Petco.
  • Grew merchants 4x from a few hundred to over 800.
  • Now operate three automated warehouses to process and ship returned goods. Grew square footage by 4x.
  • 10x the revenue this year (2023) than the full year before PayPal acquired the company in 2019.

Happy Returns enables UPS to offer more access points for drop-offs in locations that help make returns less time consuming. Does it make returns cheaper for businesses who use UPS/Happy Returns? Returns currently requires multiple touch points that likely contains humans touching inventory which makes the process expensive.

Returns has not been solved - yes the best return is no return but online commerce in certain categories will lead to returns. Do brands or platforms mitigate returns by charging customers fees for returns? Not all returns business are equal as some of them do not touch inventory and integrate directly to carriers whereas others touch inventory multiple times. Its expensive and bluntly has not been solved well due to significant levels of technology fragmentation.

I hope Happy Returns adds significant revenues to UPS’s bottom line as reverse logistics is still looking for real solutions.

We covered this in the Watson Weekend a few weeks ago also:

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