Will shoppers pay services to do returns for them?
For a flat fee of $9.99, ReturnRunners returns any single item for a consumer. Additional items cost 99 cents each.
Users download the ReturnRunners app and create a profile. The app matches the user with a local Runner, who picks up the merchandise at a specified time and returns it on their behalf. The money is returned to the card it was purchased with.
“We make your returns. You do more important things,” the Chicago-based on-demand service states on its website.
Users are required to take a photo of their receipt for proof of purpose. ReturnRunners works with about two dozen stores, including Nordstrom, Target, Neiman Marcus and Sephora.
Founder Fara Alexander came up with the idea while planning her wedding. She wound up purchasing many items just before stores were closing but wasn’t able to return most of them.
“While I had good intentions to make it back to the store, it was really low on the priority list,” she told Chicago Tonight. “All this wasted money I could otherwise have had if there was some easier way to go about this process.”
The company plans to expand to other major metropolitan markets and believes the service could also support in-store pickup.
Another upstart launching a similar service is ReRunner. On its gofundme page, ReRunner writes, “This benefits the consumer by putting more disposable income back in their pockets, and more valuable still, ReRunner eliminates the hassle of customer service lines, giving consumers back their most valued commodity — time.”
In London earlier this year, retail delivery and returns specialist CollectPlus partnered with on-demand transport app Gett to launch a retail returns service. The service costs £1.95 per item.
UberRUSH rolled out returns in 2015 in New York City for e-commerce purchases to help consumers avoid the chore of standing in line at the post office. The service, which cost $4 per pickup, was only offered for a limited time. UberRUSH at the time said that it couldn’t handle in-store returns because they require additional proof of purchase.
- Love Shopping, Hate Making Returns? There’s a (New) App for That – Chicago Tonight
- Build the ReRunner App – gofundme
- CollectPlus and Gett launch rapid retail returns service – Retail Week
- Limited Time Only: E-Commerce Returns, powered by UberRUSH – UberRUSH
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do paid, on-demand return services make sense for today’s consumers? Is the in-store returns process too complicated for on-demand delivery platforms to handle?