Staples to accept returns from other stores
Staples in January will begin accepting returns from a few other retailers at more than 1,000 U.S. stores to become the latest chain to turn their stores into drop-off points.
The service is a result of a partnership with Optoro, which manages returns for Best Buy, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, IKEA, American Eagle, B.J.’s and Under Armour as well as Staples and hundreds of smaller online sites. Staples will be the first retailer to accept returns through a new program, Express Returns.
Under the program, consumers looking to return a product purchased from a retailer using the Optoro platform may find an option to make the return at a nearby Staples. A QR code is sent to their mobile phone to be scanned by a Staples associate. The code enables the shopper to skip the line for a quick refund while supporting a contactless experience for store associates. There is no need for the customer to print a label or package the return.
Return drop-off services have slowly rolled out in recent years.
Happy Returns, which handles returns for a number of online stores, has Happy Return Bars set up in more than 500 U.S locations, including Paper Source, Cost Plus World Market, buybuyBaby and Bed Bath & Beyond.
Narvar, which helps manage returns for Urban Outfitters, Levi’s and others, last year introduced drop-off points at more than 8,000 Walgreens U.S. locations and select Nordstrom stores.
However, Kohl’s, which began accepting Amazon returns at all its stores in June 2019 after a pilot that began in 2017, appears to be the only retailer aggressively promoting the service as a convenience to consumers on its website.
Holiday returns are expected to reach another record as accelerated e-commerce growth is forecast to continue due to the pandemic and return rates are found to be three to five times higher for online purchases than store-bought ones. Beyond convenience for shoppers, returns specialists tout their services as cost-effective and eco-friendly solutions for retailers.
- Optoro Announces Nationwide Contactless Returns Network Featuring New Partnership with Staples US Retail – Optoro/Globe Newswire
- Staples To Pilot A Drop-Off Program For Easier E-Commerce Returns – Forbes
- Staples Welcomes Returns from Other Retailers – Ecommercebytes
- Happy Returns Takes Back Your Returns – Forbes
- Happy Returns Enables Hassle-Free eCommerce Returns for Brands and Retailers Shipping with Ingram Micro Commerce & Lifecycle Services – Happy Returns/Business Wire
- Narvar and Walgreens Usher in New Era of Customer Experience, Bringing Shopping and Returns Closer to Consumers – Walgreens
- Kohl’s goes all-in on Amazon returns – RetailWire
- Has COVID-19 exacerbated online return challenges? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does accepting in-store returns from purchases for other retailers make sense for Staples? Why has Kohl’s seemingly been the only retailer to fully embrace the opportunity for third-party in-store returns?