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Ulta Beauty, PayPal expand in-person returns

Ulta Beauty storefront
Ulta Beauty is expediting online returns with Happy Returns.

Ulta Beauty and PayPal are both leveraging the same third-party online returns solution.

Ulta Beauty is partnering with the Happy Returns in-person returns solution, while digital payments giant PayPal is enabling retailers who use its PayPal Checkout solution to deploy the Happy Returns return and exchange portal software at no additional cost. Happy Returns was acquired by PayPal in May 2021.

[Read more: PayPal to buy Happy Returns, which helps shoppers return online purchases]

Following are summaries of each new Happy Returns program.

Ulta Beauty
The leading beauty retailer is introducing Happy Returns “Return Bars” in more than 1,300 Ulta Beauty retail locations nationwide, increasing the total number of Return Bar locations overall to more than 5,000. Starting in select locations and expanding throughout 2022, Ulta Beauty shoppers can begin their return on the Happy Returns-hosted returns portal or the Ulta website flow and receive a QR code.

They can then bring the items only—no box or receipt required—plus the QR code to the Return Bar at an Ulta Beauty store to complete the return. Returns from multiple retailers are aggregated into a reusable tote, with the goal of reducing shipping costs and making the process more sustainable by eliminating cardboard and lowering carbon emissions.

“We are thrilled to welcome Happy Returns to the Ulta Beauty family to deliver our guests greater convenience,” said Kecia Steelman, COO, Ulta Beauty. “Our pilot with the innovative return platform reinforced the value simplified, in-person returns offer consumers and retailers alike. We’re encouraged by the increased store traffic and in-store engagement the partnership drives. This is a winning opportunity for our guests, our brand and Happy Returns.” 

“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, Happy Returns by PayPal. “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.”

Happy Returns software automates returns and exchanges. With intelligent exchange suggestions based on return reasons and inventory, consumers making PayPal Checkout purchases at participating retailers can make an exchange within the same transaction or choose to receive a refund. For retailers that also use the Happy Returns Return Bar service, the return flow presents customers with nearby Return Bar locations so they can select their preferred returns location. 

In addition, the Happy Returns portal is now localized to eight additional languages to enable access by consumers in the EU and Canada. The appropriate language is displayed automatically based on the shopper’s location, with translation of all screen instructions including custom copy provided by the merchant. The returns portal also includes a dashboard that enables a retailer to run reports of returns data and respond to returns-related customer inquiries in real-time.

“As return volumes continue to increase, this is a crucial time for merchants to implement efficient and cost-effective solutions that better equip them to manage the growing role returns play in retail,” said David Sobie, VP Happy Returns, PayPal. “By offering the Happy Returns software free of charge, we are delivering a post-purchase solution for merchants that helps them retain revenue and gives them a competitive edge in today’s market.”

Happy Returns operates a network of Return Bar drop-off locations in over 1,200 metro areas across every state in the continental U.S., as well as in Washington, D.C.

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