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UPS Expands Reverse Logistics Footprint With Acquisition of Happy Returns

UPS plans to acquire Happy Returns, a software and reverse logistics company, to expand its returns footprint and enhance its digital solutions.

This deal aims to address the long-standing challenges faced by both shoppers and retailers in the returns process, the companies said in a Wednesday (Oct. 25) press release. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

By combining Happy Returns’ technology and established drop-off points with UPS’ network, customers can expect a frictionless, box-free and label-free returns experience, according to the release.

Happy Returns has developed a suite of returns solutions, powered by software and efficient reverse logistics operations, the release said. With a few steps, users can access a returns portal, make a box-free return at the nearest drop-off location, and have their item shipped, sorted and returned to the merchant.

This streamlined process reduces the cost of eCommerce for all players and creates a more efficient and sustainable supply chain, per the release.

With close to 5,200 The UPS Store locations in operation, this partnership will enhance the accessibility and convenience of returns, the release said. By leveraging UPS’ small package network and Happy Returns’ established drop-off points, customers will have access to a network of over 12,000 locations across the United States.

Happy Returns CEO and Co-Founder David Sobie will continue to lead the business for UPS after the deal closes, per the release.

When retailers use Happy Returns, they save money on return fees because the service aggregates items when making the return, saving as much as 40%, Sobie told PYMNTS’ Karen Webster in an interview posted in February.

“There is no such thing as a free return,” Sobie said. “It’s just a question of who’s subsidizing the transaction. Free return for a shopper means the merchant’s paying. What we’re seeing retailers say is, ‘I’m going to have the free or the subsidized option be the one which is cheapest for me.’”

The news of this planned acquisition comes about a month after UPS entered into an agreement to acquire MNX Global Logistics, a global time-critical logistics provider. That move aims to enhance UPS’ precision and capability in offering time-sensitive logistics solutions, particularly in healthcare and related industries.