A startup named Returnmates is making returning online items as easy as buying them

Technology

Ordering items online is super easy. A few clicks or taps and whatever we want is on the way to our front door.

But ever try to return those same items? The process can range from easy to super frustrating, especially if you don’t have the right supplies, like a box, tape or printer for return labels.

Now, a startup named Returnmates is making the online returns process as easy as ordering in the first place. All you have to do is leave the item outside your front door and they’ll take care of the rest.

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“What we find is once they go through the whole flow once… they’re hooked,” said Kristian Zak, co-founder of Returnmates.

I met up with the company at their West Los Angeles headquarters. Here’s how it all works.

First, you start the returns process like you typically would. Amazon is obviously the most popular for online returns, but Returnmates can work with anything that needs to be sent back.

Once you’ve got the return process started, then you go to Returnmates website and schedule a next-day pickup. You can also upload a copy of the return label, a link to it or a QR code.

Basically, the thing here is that items must already have return shipping taken care of – Returnmates doesn’t handle that part of the process, although I could see that being an offering in the future.

There are two options for pickup: you can simply leave the item outside your front door or choose a handoff pickup, where you place your item into the hands of a Returnmates pickup courier.

Depending on your level of comfort with leaving an item unattended, you might choose one option or another.

I tested Returnmates with several packages and tried both methods. The process was seamless every time. Either way, Returnmates will text you their anticipated arrival time to do the pickup.

Returnmates brings the item back to their warehouse and packages it up, applies the label and hands it off to the proper courier.

What I like about the process is how you’re informed every step of the way. You’re told when the courier will arrive, when they pick up and then you’ll get a tracking number with a note that the package is off on its way.

“People value convenience and while dropping off your item at a UPS store is definitely more convenient than it was 5 years or so ago… we feel like the most convenient option is not having to leave your house at all,” explained Eric Wimer, co-founder at Returnmates.

Keep in mind, Returnmates isn’t just for returns. It can be used to pick up any package you need to ship, as long as you have shipping costs covered. So, you can use for items you sell on eBay and other online marketplaces.

The cost for this convenience? $6 per pickup or $15 for unlimited pickups each month. You’ll have to weigh the costs against the benefits for your specific situation, but I can say the entire experience is sort of life changing.

In the future, Returnmates hopes to be offered as an included part of the returns process for more retailers. The idea that online returns are as easy as online shopping will encourage even more orders.

Want to try it? Returnmates shared two promo codes! Use 1MONTH to get a free month long subscription and FREEPICKUP to try a free pickup.

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