Returnly, a post-purchase payment program that services brands and retailers, is trying to subvert the wastefulness of the traditional returns process.
The tech company’s new platform, Green Returns, focuses primarily on helping sellers implement smart returns protocols for items that can’t be re-sold after they’re opened, like cosmetics and intimates.
Once these unwanted items are shipped back to a seller, they’re often trashed because of the potential health hazards of re-selling them. The disposal of those products, not to mention the resources wasted in the packaging and shipping process, contributes to the 5 billion pounds of waste that retail returns create each year.
Instead of shipping back products that will ultimately be landfilled, Green Returns enables brands to offer “returnless refunds,” the company explained in a statement. The customer is refunded for their unwanted purchase without having to go through the wasteful process of returning unsalable stock.
Sometimes, shipping items back is a requirement, though. When it’s necessary to return an item, Green Returns orchestrates the logistics around that process, too. Products are sent to a unique destination that reduces the cost of shipping, as well as the environmental footprint that would otherwise accompany those returns.
“Traditional return policies don’t give direct-to-consumer brands the flexibility or freedom needed to meet modern shoppers’ expectations,” said Eduardo Vilar, Returnly’s founder and CEO. “We built Green Returns to help these mission-driven companies live out their values, putting the customer and the planet front and center,” he added.
Brendan Hastings, VP of engineering and digital product at Thinx, a women’s intimates startup, said in a statement that the move makes good business sense, too. He believes providing returnless refunds rewards the brand’s customers, instead of forcing them to move forward with a costly process that ultimately benefits no one.
“Green Returns has made a huge impact on consumer happiness and our bottom-line, while doing the right thing for the planet,” he added.
Last month Returnly, which optimizes return shipping solutions for brands like Fanatics, Untuckit, Outdoor Voices and Greats, raised a $19-million Series B on the heels of an $8-million A round in January.
“In the age of Amazon, shoppers expect every interaction with a brand to be fast and easy – including post-purchase,” said Jeff Fluhr, who co-founded ticketing marketplace StubHub and now is general partner at Craft Ventures, which led the latest founding round. “Returnly gives shoppers the instant and seamless returns experience they have come to expect. For the thousands of retailers competing with Amazon, Returnly levels the playing field while increasing revenue and improving customer loyalty.”
Additional reporting by Jessica Binns.