Happy Returns is joining UPS
We’re excited to share news today that UPS plans to acquire Happy Returns from PayPal.
Since founding Happy Returns in 2015, we’ve worked tirelessly to create a better returns experience for shoppers, save money for merchants and reduce the impact of returns on the planet. Today marks the next step on our journey, as we move from being part of the global leader in payments to being part of the global leader in logistics.
Any goodbye is hard, and this one is no exception. What makes it especially hard today is no other company has played as significant a role in our success as PayPal.
Looking Back: Happy Returns, a PayPal Company
We first met the team at PayPal during the adolescence of Happy Returns, when PayPal Ventures reached out in the summer of 2018. A fun and engaging conversation about the friction of returning online purchases led to PayPal Ventures leading our Series B financing in the spring of 2019. PayPal joined our board and was there to support our growing company through the lows of the early pandemic — when the coronavirus effectively shut our service down — and the highs that came later with the resulting ecommerce boom.
We loved having PayPal on our cap table. It was validating to be backed by a globally admired brand. PayPal succeeded by removing friction from payments to unlock growth in the early days of ecommerce just like we were trying to remove friction from returns to unlock mass adoption of shopping online. More importantly, the team at PayPal uniquely understood our B2B2C business. It is hard to satisfy multiple stakeholders in any enterprise, but PayPal had already succeeded at building a two-sided network, and they understood the challenges we faced to deliver a valuable service for merchants (B2B) while also delighting their shoppers (B2C).
When PayPal acquired Happy Returns outright in the spring of 2021, they encouraged us to dream bigger and build for scale. Under PayPal’s stewardship, we have done exactly that. Consider some operating metrics before, and after we joined PayPal:
Return Bars – have expanded from 2,750 locations at acquisition to over 10,000 today, including partnerships with category leaders Ulta Beauty, Staples and Petco. Over 90% of US households are now within a 10-mile drive of a Happy Returns location.
Merchants – have grown 4x from a few hundred to over 800 today, and we serve ecommerce giants like Revolve, LandsEnd, Gymshark and Levi’s.
Return Hubs – now include three beautiful, automated warehouses to process and ship returned goods. In the past two years, we have grown our square footage by 4x.
Employees – we’ve more than tripled the team as we invest in building the business and scaling our capacity.
All of these growth vectors converge in our financial results. Happy Returns will do more than 10x the revenue this year (2023) that we did in the full year before PayPal acquired the business (2020).
It’s been a good run.
Looking Ahead: Happy Returns, a UPS Company
UPS is the leading logistics company on the planet, and I can state with confidence that UPS is the right long-term home for Happy Returns. Happy Returns will be a new, independent division within the UPS family, joining the teams from Delivery Solutions, Roadie, Ware2Go and UPS Capital.
Joining UPS will provide us with the resources and global reach to fulfill our mission to make returns beautiful for shoppers, retailers and the planet. We are now part of an organization that can provide the scale and expertise we need to grow every part of our company.
What do I mean by scale? Consider:
Volume – We handle millions of returned items each month. UPS ships over 24M packages and documents each day.
Reach – We operate our box-free return drop off service in one country today (US). UPS operates in 200 countries and territories around the world.
What do I mean by expertise? Consider:
Return Drop Off – While Happy Returns pioneered box-free, in-person drop off to a third-party network, The UPS Store advanced the widespread adoption of this offering through collaborations with leading brands.
We are eager to compare notes and innovate together to make the shopper experience better, reduce return costs for merchants and lower the carbon footprint of return shipping.
Automation – We were proud to take our first steps in automating our return hubs last year when we installed basic conveyance systems to move goods through the building. We are eager to learn from the folks at UPS who built the world’s largest automated package sorting facility in Louisville, Kentucky.
From accepting Happy Returns at The UPS Stores nationwide, to shipping our reusable totes by UPS® Ground, to deploying automation expertise in our return hubs, joining UPS will enable us to make Happy Returns the leading returns solution around the world. In simple terms, we will be able to serve more merchants, in more categories, at lower costs, in more geographies, with higher quality.
Buckle up, as the ride will only accelerate from here.
Goodbye, but Not Farewell
We will be forever grateful for our relationship with PayPal, and we are incredibly proud of what our companies accomplished together. While a new chapter begins today with UPS, there are new collaborations with PayPal on the horizon. Stay tuned.
Onwards and upwards, but now as Happy Returns, a UPS Company.
David Sobie Co-founder
David Sobie is the Co-founder of Happy Returns. Before Happy Returns, David was Chief Marketing Officer at REVOLVE. He also held senior roles at HauteLook, LeadPoint, and eBay Motors.
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