How ‘return bars’ at local malls could revolutionize online shopping

After a strong holiday shopping season, retailers are bracing for a flood of returns — and not just at the customer service counter.

This year traditional and online retailers have expanded the number of locations and routes consumers can use to return merchandise, from in-store kiosks and lockers to the mall concierge, grocery stores, parcel shipping locations and at-home pickup.

“A lot more retailers are offering all the convenient options this year,” said Amit Sharma, chief executive of Narvar, a technology firm that helps retailers including Gap Inc., Sephora and Yeti Holdings Inc. with shipping and tracking purchases and returns.

Online retailer Amazon.com Inc. said it has expanded options for in-person returns this year, with a network of 2,000 “locker” locations, including 400 at Whole Foods stores, where customers can drop off items to be returned. Amazon also partnered with Kohl’s Corp. KSS,   stores in Chicago and Los Angeles, which are accepting returns of Amazon goods bought online.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.  is touting its Mobile Express Returns kiosks, located in its stores, where it says customers can complete the return process in less than five minutes and receive a refund within a day or so.

An expanded version of this report can be found at WSJ.com.

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https://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-return-bars-at-local-malls-could-revolutionize-online-shopping-2017-12-27

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