Ulta Beauty is partnering with Happy Returns to add Return Bar services to 1,300 brick-and-mortar locations. Through this partnership, Ulta and Happy Returns will increase the total number of Return Bar locations to more than 5,000 by the end of 2022. As a result, 78% of Americans will live within 10 miles of a Return Bar.
The partnership is Ulta Beauty’s latest move to reaffirm its stance as an omnichannel leader. The beauty retailer recently announced its plans to open more standalone stores and beauty shop-in-shops at Target and by adding Return Bars to locations, it will be able to boost store traffic, streamline the returns process and help reduce logistical costs.
“Our pilot with the innovative return platform reinforced the value simplified, in-person returns offer consumers and retailers alike,” said Kecia Steelman, COO of Ulta Beauty in a statement. “We’re encouraged by the increased store traffic and in-store engagement the partnership drives.”
Shoppers begin their returns journey on the Happy Returns-hosted returns portal or the merchants’ own return flow. At the end of the process, they receive a QR code, which they bring with their items — no box or receipt required — to the Return Bar at an Ulta Beauty store to complete the return. Returns from multiple merchants are aggregated into a reusable tote, reducing shipping costs and making the process more sustainable by eliminating cardboard and lowering carbon emissions.
“Though consumers have increased their frequency of online shopping, returns are commonly an ‘in-person’ experience and are costly and challenging for merchants,” said David Sobie, VP of Happy Returns by PayPal in a statement. “Our partnership with Ulta Beauty widens our in-person drop off network and gives online shoppers more options to complete returns — Return Bars bring new customers into stores and give merchants a more cost-effective and practical way to manage their reverse logistics.”
Merchants that use PayPal Checkout will receive complimentary access to the return and exchange portal software of Happy Returns, which was acquired by PayPal in May 2021.