PayPal to buy Happy Returns, which helps shoppers return online purchases

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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PayPal is expanding its digital commerce focus beyond payments to the post-purchase experience. 

The digital payments giant is acquiring start-up Happy Returns, which enables consumers to return online purchases in person and whose partners include FedEx and Simon. In 2019, PayPal made a strategic investment in the start-up. 

Happy Returns operates a network of more than 2,600 drop-off locations in over 1,200 metro areas in every state in the continental U.S., as well as Washington, D.C. Shoppers start the return process on participating retailers’ websites or at and receive a QR code. They then bring the items — no box or receipt required — with the QR code to one of Happy Return’s drop-off locations. According to Happy Returns, a typical return takes less than a minute, returns are approved in real time, and the service initiates refunds and exchanges immediately in most cases. 

PayPal has been expanding from its core digital payment offering, acquiring the Honey online deal finder platform for $4 billion in November 2019. 

By buying Happy Returns, PayPal will gain the ability to direct the entire customer journey, from product discovery through payments to returns and exchanges. PayPal will retain the Happy Returns team to help run its post-purchase experience. 

“With PayPal’s support, we will also focus on improving our platform and expanding our footprint, all with the goal of providing more customers with the most seamless, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly way to make and process returns,” said Happy Returns co-founders David Sobie and Mark Geller in a corporate blog post. “We are confident that the best is yet to come, and are looking forward to our next chapter as part of the PayPal organization.”