Which 2020 returns options will stick?
Never before have consumers had so many options for returning unwanted holiday gifts. Some may help retailers handle what’s expected to be a record haul of returns this year.
Among the expanded options being offered:
Extended holiday return windows: A number of retailers extended the period of time allowed to make returns as the pandemic hit, and have again this holiday season in anticipation of shipping delays and ongoing restrictions on in-store occupancy. Apple’s holiday return policy, for instance, allows purchases made online between Nov. 10 and Dec. 25 to be returned through Jan. 8, a major extension of their usual 14-day return policy.
Curbside returns: Dick’s Sporting Goods, Nordstrom and Best Buy have added returns to their contactless curbside pickup offering.
Alternative retail drop-off points: Amazon expanded “box-free, label-free” return drop-offs to over 500 Whole Foods Market in addition to 1,100 Kohl’s locations and its varied Amazon store concepts. In January, Staples will begin accepting returns at its U.S. stores in a partnership with Optoro, a reverse logistics provider that manages returns for Best Buy, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, IKEA and others. Among other reverse-returns specialists, Narvar has opened return counters inside select Nordstrom locations and Happy Return Bars are set up inside Paper Source and Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Mall drop-offs: Mall of America in mid-December partnered with Narvar to support drop-off returns for brands including Gap, Old Navy, Athleta and Banana Republic at multiple guest services locations distributed across the property. In November, mall operator Simon partnered with Narvar to support drop-off spots for approximately two dozen brands at participating locations.
Carrier drop-off: Many retailers have deals to drop off packages inside UPS, FedEx and USPS locations. Some stores also serve as drop-off points for the major carriers — Walgreens and Dollar General for FedEx and CVS and Michael’s for UPS.
Lockers: Amazon has installed Hub Locker locations in more than 900 cities and towns across the country inside c-stores, grocery stores, apartment buildings and malls.
Home pick-up: Walmart announced last week that it will pick up items shipped and sold by Walmart.com from customers’ homes free of charge through a new partnership with FedEx.
- Next up for retailers: A big wave of gift returns – Reuters
- State of Returns: New Expectations – Narvar
- Retailers brace for a flood of returns from online shopping – Los Angeles Times
- Retailers prepare for historic holiday returns on heels of online surge – Houston Chronicle
- Happy Returns expanding its network of ‘Return Bars’ with new collaboration with FedEx – USA Today
- Optoro Announces Nationwide Contactless Returns Network Featuring New Partnership with Staples US Retail – Optoro
- Amazon Offers Customers Free, Convenient and Easy Returns at More Locations This Holiday Season – Amazon
- Mall of America and Narvar Launch Convenient Returns Drop-off Service – Narvar
- Narvar and Simon Launch Convenient Returns Program – Narvar
- Narvar and Walgreens Usher in New Era of Customer Experience, Bringing Shopping and Returns Closer to Consumers – Narvar
- Retailers Extend Returns amid the Pandemic – eMarketer