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Start-up wants to make it easy for customers to return online goods — in malls, stores


Two e-commerce vets are looking to tackle one of the retail industry’s most vexing problems: returns of online purchases.

David Sobie, former senior VP of marketing & business development at flash site HauteLook, and Mark Geller, former head of mobile at the company (which Nordstrom acquired in 2011), are launching Happy Returns, which seeks to eliminate the “pain” of returns by mail by establishing a network of “Return Bars” in malls and stores where shoppers can return merchandise purchased online and get an immediate refund.

As to the appeal of the concept, Happy Returns puts it this way: “Malls and stores that host Return Bars get highly-qualified foot traffic — shoppers with refunds to spend on incremental products.”

The start-up is launching a pilot with online clothing resale retailer Tradesy that will let its customers return orders to a Happy Returns location at Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, California, according to

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