Well Made

84 Recovering Returns with David Sobie, co-founder of Happy Returns

Episode Summary

A chat with Happy Returns co-founder, David Sobie on the logistics of in-person, online purchase returns.

Episode Notes

As online shopping grows, ecommerce companies are struggling to make returning products as easy as buying them. Enter Happy Returns. It’s simple: buy online, return in-store at any Return Bars. You get your refund and Happy Returns handles the rest.

In 2015, after leading the in-store returns program for Hautelook and Nordstrom Rack, co-founders David Sobie and Mark Geller started Happy Returns. Their reverse logistics company addresses a unique set of consumer and retailer challenges: inconvenient mail-in returns, shrinking in-store traffic, and management of an often complicated and expensive process. By appealing to customers who want the flexibility of shopping online and returning in-person, Happy Returns is building a critical solution.

On this episode, David talks about setting the standard for in-person returns. He talks about using technology to build out physical return locations (6:24) and tracking surveys and coupons to quantify the business they drive for local partners (10:00). David dives into the logistics of returning items to their original retailers (15:36). He talks about Amazon Prime’s effect on free returns and instant refunds (33:43) and retaining customers while leading marketing operations at big ecommerce retailers (50:15). Lastly, David talks about a future in product recalls, returns disposal, and reducing packaging waste during returns (56:07).

Also mentioned on the show:

Links and images can be found on the Lumi Blog.