Zappos is betting that Santa will bring plenty of people a gift that is less than what their heart desires, and offering them $100 for their white elephants — and the chance to do a good deed.
The Amazon-owned e-tailer will be staffing the phones starting at 8 a.m. Dec. 26, and will offer the first 500 callers a $100 gift card and a prepaid shipping label so that they can donate their unwanted gift to charity. The promotion, themed #ZapposHappyReturns, came about as the retailer tried to think of ways to improve on its already-liberal return policy.
“We consider ourselves to be a customer service-focused company – more than just an online retailer – and as such, we’re always looking for new and exciting ways to engage with and give back to our customers,” says Kristin Richmer, lead of Zappos Awareness Marketing, in an email. “We wanted to take our already great return policy (fast free shipping, free returns, 365 days a year) to the next level, offering to accept and donate any gift received this holiday season, from any retailer.”
She says that in addition to its Happy Returns web page on its site, the company is promoting the event on its social media channels, and plans to email existing customers.
By some measures, Dec. 26—aka Boxing Day to the country’s anglophiles — is set to figure prominently in the year’s spending figures. The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker says that more people plan to shop on Dec. 26 this year than on Black Friday, with 66% of those in its research planning to do so (that’s up from 64% last year. But they plan to spend a little ), although they’ll spend an average of $186, a little less than $192 last year.