On Thursday, the return logistics company Happy Returns announced a partnership with plus size women's retailer Avenue that will allow customers to return online Avenue merchandise to more than 700 Happy Returns locations.
Avenue customers can return merchandise to Happy Returns' Return Bars without needing to print a label or box the item, and their refunds will be initiated immediately, per the company statement.
In addition to Avenue, Happy Returns is working with other brands including Everlane, Rothy's and Hips & Curves, the company noted in its press release.
Avenue is the latest retailer Happy Returns has added to its roster as it continues to grow. In September, the returns company added World Market to its list of partner retailers. In April last year, Happy Returns received $11 million in funding from PayPal, U.S. Venture Partners and Upfront Ventures.
Retail Dive discovered in August that Avenue had plans to close all of its brick-and-mortar stores, which were later confirmed by the company. The apparel retailer then filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In November, Avenue converted the case to a Chapter 7 liquidation. As a result, the retailer went from having 222 stores to being online-only, making the case for services like Happy Returns more clear.
"Offering our shoppers Happy Returns for returning online purchases is a core part of our digital-only strategy, Avenue CEO Phil Ryan said in a statement. "We expect Happy Returns' solution for returns in person will help us succeed without a physical retail presence."
For digital direct-to-consumer brands, the returns process is crucial for keeping customers happy. Per a recent Oracle report, 57% of retailers believe the returns process is easy, but the same percentage of consumers think returns are cumbersome or could be easier. Web-based supply chain firm Voxware found that 95% of shoppers said the returns experience influences whether they chose to patronize a retailer in the future.