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Cadillac Fairview Partners with Canadian Company to Offer Online Returns In-Malls: Interviews

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Canada’s first end-to-end returns solution, ReturnBear, is expanding its national footprint in premier Cadillac Fairview malls in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba.

Sylvia Ng

“The growth of e-commerce has spotlighted one of online retail’s biggest problems: returns. More online shopping means more online returns. Returns are costly for merchants and a hassle for customers, and up until now there has been no streamlined process to make this easier for Canadians,” said Sylvia Ng, CEO of ReturnBear. “We are on a mission to make retail returns easy and accessible for everyone. We are proud to expand ReturnBear and provide a cross-country solution for Canadian retailers and shoppers alike.”

ReturnBear, which is backed by Cadillac Fairview and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, was established in October of last year.

“We’re an end- to-end returns solution with a focus on Canadian retailers. What we’re trying to do with ReturnBear is to make returns honestly just really easy for the consumer and efficient for the retailer and then obviously through those two things make it better for the planet because it’s a huge environmental problem,” said Ng.

Image: ReturnBear

Canadians can now find ReturnBear in the following CF locations:

Ontario

●  CF Toronto Eaton Centre

●  CF Fairview Mall

●  CF Sherway Gardens

●  CF Fairview Park

Quebec

●  CF Carrefour Laval

●  CF Promenade St Bruno

Alberta

●  CF Chinook Centre

British Columbia

●  CF Pacific Centre

●  CF Richmond Centre

Manitoba

●  CF Polo Park

CF Fairview Mall (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

Ng said ReturnBear has convenient new package-free drop off locations, enhanced product offerings, and new merchant partners. Its SaaS solution has been updated to include a merchant admin app to manage return operations, analytics to monitor return trends, a consumer experience designed to make self-serve returns quick and convenient, and a tablet application for ReturnBear kiosk staff to efficiently accept returns and process exchanges, refunds or store credit.

The expansion comes in tandem with ReturnBear adding new retailers to its merchant-base, including Mint Green Group (home to household brands like K-Swiss), Franc, California Cowboy and Numi, said the company.

Jose Ribau
Jose Ribau

“When we announced our partnership with ReturnBear last year, we knew Canadians would respond positively to the unique, multi-retailer return offering,” said Jose Ribau, Executive Vice President, Digital and Innovation at Cadillac Fairview. “We recognize shoppers’ pain points when it comes to online returns and are prioritizing convenience through national expansion across our CF properties, as well as support for retailers by reducing reverse logistics costs and operational challenges when it comes to returns. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Ng said Canada is a large and geographically dispersed country, making shipping costs very high. The national expansion of ReturnBear is in locations that are close and convenient to consumers.

“It’s almost like you and I in our daily commutes would almost pass by one of these Cadillac Fairview malls and in that case it’s easy to return something as part of your daily commute. With those savings we are helping the environment as well as helping the retailers take those goods back in a more efficient way,” she said.

The first two ReturnBear locations started in Toronto.

ReturnBear said it simplifies the end-to-end return experience by streamlining the process for retailers, providing a one-stop solution where shoppers can drop off their returns without printing labels, repacking their products, or having to wait in line at a post office. ReturnBear’s software is integrated into the merchant’s website, providing a self-serve experience for customers to initiate returns and exchanges, and choose the drop-off or mail-in option for their return that is most convenient to them.

Merchants that use ReturnBear can offer a self-serve return and exchange experience to their retail customers, providing an automated return process that is consistent with existing in-store and e-commerce practices, and the convenience of packaging-free drop-off options. ReturnBear’s hands-on item quality control, repacking, and batch shipping ensure that products get back into forward supply faster – saving brands money, and reducing the risk of product waste. With features that include store credit bonuses, the ability to create custom return rules, and analytics that help retailers identify patterns and opportunities for improvements, ReturnBear removes manual intervention from merchants’ online returns operations, and helps them bring more convenient experiences to their customers.

Image: ReturnBear

“We basically offer retailers two main things. The software components to handle returns and exchanges and the logistical component of handling returns and exchanges,” said Ng.

“On the software side, what we provide a retailer is a few things. One is a consumer-facing application for the consumer to actually do self-serve returns. We also offer a software application for the retailer to manage all those returns . . . There’s also reporting and analytics for them to optimize all of their entire system.

“There’s actually a third app that we give them for their retail locations to be scanning the returns in and hook into our system that way.

“On the logistical side, we help the retailer . . . when the consumer drops off their item into the mall, we take it and we do the processing on the retailer’s behalf. We will check to see if it’s in a resellable condition. If it is, we will re-pack it, see if there’s any refurbishing required, and pack it back into the condition they need to be to be sold immediately. So by the time it gets back to their warehouse or into their brick and mortar location it is completely ready to sell. And we are able to do that a lot faster than most retailers are able to do it themselves.”

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior National Business Journalist with Retail Insider in addition to working on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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