PayPal Buys Happy Returns

PayPal has traditionally been known purely as a payments platform. But with the recent announcement of purchasing Happy Returns, it is clear that they are much more than that.

PayPal announced a deal to acquire start-up Happy Returns on Thursday for an undisclosed amount. The innovative Santa Monica-based company allows customers to return things they bought online, in person.

“The post-purchase experience is something we’ve been looking into since it’s such a pain point — people want to shop online and return in-store, and vice versa,”

“For retailers, we’re providing more comprehensive services beyond payments.”

Frank Keller, Senior Vice President of Consumer In-store & Digital Commerce, PayPal

This latest acquisition follows PayPal’s $4 billion acquisition of Honey, a browser extension that lets consumers find and use the best coupons to save them money whilst shopping online. PayPal also announced a deal just a few months ago to buy cryptocurrency security company, Curv, for $200 million. PayPal had already been an early venture investor in Happy Returns.

PayPal Joining The Returns Industry

The acquisition will help solve the often messy logistics experience of returning and shipping items for merchants and help drive foot traffic to those businesses as the economy reopens post-pandemic. By expanding into more areas of the full commerce journey it is clear that PayPal expects their acquisitions to incentivize more merchants to sign up for other PayPal products.

This deal also fits the remit outlined by PayPal CEO Dan Schulman in his recent appearances, stating publicly that the focus is on PayPal’s “commerce platform.” Schulman underlined online shopping as a key leg of growth during an investor call earlier this year.

The Covid-19 pandemic caused a surge in online shopping which helped drive record payment volume and revenue for PayPal in its most recent quarters. During first-quarter earnings last week, Schulman highlighted plans to roll out a “next-generation digital wallet” this year, which he further described as an “all-in-one, personalized app” that will “provide increasingly customized and unique shopping, financial services, and payments experiences.”

Happy Returns has approximately 2,600 drop-off locations where shoppers can return products for an immediate refund or exchange. The company also highlights a lower environmental impact. It relies on reusable totes instead of cardboard, to transport returns. The start-up works with direct-to-consumer brands including Rothy’s, Revolve, Everlane, as well as brands like Dressbarn and Steve Madden.

“It’s a far better consumer experience because it doesn’t involve printing labels, cardboard boxes, and most importantly for shoppers, it doesn’t involve waiting to get your money back,”

David Sobie, CEO & Co-Founder, Happy Returns,

Ever since their separation from eBay PayPal has continued to thrive and expand into other areas of not just eCommerce but commerce in general.

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