Future of retail goes to college

Happy Returns is expanding its innovative business model to college campuses this fall.

Happy Returns is expanding its innovative business model to college campuses this fall.

The e-commerce startup that aims to make online returns easier for retailers is expanding its service to college and university campuses. The initial rollout of Happy Returns Return Bars on college campuses will include five schools launching ahead of the back-to-school shopping season, including University of Arizona, University of Washington, North Carolina State University, Portland State University and Gonzaga University.

“College students are a great fit for Happy Returns, since they do most of their shopping online, don’t want to bother with printing shipping labels, and crave an easy and immediate refund,” said David Sobie, Co-Founder and CEO of Happy Returns. “College students are also passionate about preserving the environment, so they appreciate that Happy Returns’ box-free returns consume less cardboard and produce lower carbon emissions than other return methods.”

The company says its high engagement with college students since its founding has naturally led to the development of campus-based partnerships.

To complete a return through the Happy Returns service, students bring items from participating retailers to the Return Bar location on campus, with no boxes or receipts required. The campus bookstore, student center or convenience store staff use the Happy Returns system to accept the return and initiate a refund on behalf of the customer.

Based on a successful rollout this fall, Happy Returns says it plans to continue expanding its network of college-based locations throughout 2019.

The company is based in Santa Monica, Calif., and its investors include USVP, Upfront Ventures and Lowercase Capital.