Avenue closed its brick-and-mortar stores, but it is taking a physical approach to returns of online purchases.
The plus-sized women’s apparel retailer is partnering with omnichannel returns platform Happy Returns to ease the process of returning online purchases. Following a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, Avenue closed its 200-plus stores in September 2019 as part of a strategic shift to an e-commerce-only business.
Customers can return Avenue purchases to any of Happy Returns’ more than 700 “Return Bar” locations nationwide without needing to perform any printing, labeling, or boxing the return item. Return Bar associates look up the customer order by their email address with the Happy Returns app to verify the item can be returned.
Return Bar associates then inspect the item and collect the reason for return to initiate the refund, with the customer receiving an email receipt. Happy Returns then prepares returns for restocking, using bulk shipments whenever possible to reduce costs. Refunds are initiated immediately.
“Avenue has been a leader in plus-size apparel for decades, and we are thrilled to support their transition to becoming a digital-only brand,” said David Sobie, CEO and co-founder, Happy Returns. “Our Return Bar network will provide a consistent experience for Avenue shoppers who have come to expect the ease, speed, and convenience of returning to stores.”
Mall operator Simon is providing the Happy Returns service at 52 malls across the country. Simon began partnering with Happy Returns as a pilot program in five centers in 2017, and has been gradually expanding it since. Shoppers can return or exchange items from select online retailers at Simon Guest Services at participating centers, for an immediate credit.