Narvar, Simon Partner To Make Retail Returns Easier

simon, narvar, returns, retail

Customer experience platform Narvar is partnering with real estate investment trust Simon to facilitate easier retail returns, according to a press release.

“Despite our deep roots in eCommerce, we’ve always believed in the persistent power of physical retail,” Amit Sharma, founder and CEO of Narvar, said in the release.

He added that the collaboration will give consumers more choices while also increasing retailers’ efficiency.

The new service enables customers to drop off returns from about two dozen brands at 80,000 participating Simon locations, the release stated. Simon specializes in regional malls and outlet centers.

“Our properties continue to be a town square destination for the communities they serve,” said Andy Hutcherson, senior vice president of Innovation and Customer Experience at Simon, in the release.

He added that offering a cross-section of different services at Simon properties gives people a chance to “consolidate errands and save time.”

One-third of shoppers have dropped off returns at third-party locations, according to a survey by Narvar, per the release. Trip consolidation was cited as the main reason by 41 percent of the respondents.

In separate news, Amazon is negotiating with Simon to transform malls. On the table is a proposal to turn some of the department stores at Simon’s mall properties into Amazon distribution centers or fulfillment hubs.

Despite lower occupancy rates and rent collections at its shopping centers, Simon’s third quarter net income of $145.9 million is being seen by some as a sign that brick-and-mortar retail still has a strong pulse. The occupancy rate at its mall and outlet properties was 91 percent. Rent collections were 85 percent.

The pandemic not only changed the way people shop, work and study, it also changed returns, something Narvar is helping to manage. The increase in eCommerce purchases has triggered an increase in returns. The rise in digital revenue also correlates with an increase in the cost of shipping and returns.