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National Returns Day: How to Maximize Your Online Returns

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online returns

UPS expects to ship over 800,000 packages back to retailers on January 6th, a day the company has dubbed National Returns Day. According to the UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper Study conducted in 2014, 62% of consumers returned at least one item ordered online last year, an increase of 11% since 2012.

With online shopping reaching an all-time high this past holiday season, it’s no surprise the number of online returns are also rising. So whether you’re unsatisfied with the item or there was a defect, follow these tips to get the most back from your return.

Find a physical store: Many stores will accept online purchases in-store, allowing you to dodge return shipping fees and receive the full value of the item as either a refund or merchandise credit. Kohl’s, Macy’s, Best Buy, Sports Authority and more all accept in-store returns of online merchandise, and many retailers offer extended return periods for holiday purchases. For example, items purchased between November 1st and December 31st from Sports Authority can be returned through January 31st.

Know receipt-less options: Holding onto receipts and packing slips is always a smart idea, but some retailers are making it easier to return without the purchase documents. Before you turn your house upside down for a purchase slip, consider this: Walmart gives cash refunds for receipt-less purchases of $25 or less; Target customers can return without a receipt by simply providing the credit or debit card used to make the original purchase; Kohl’s Card holders can have orders pulled using their account numbers; Anthropologie associates can access Internet orders by entering the shopper’s loyalty card data; and price tags on merchandise from Nordstrom and Macy’s have UPC codes that are tied to your payment method, enabling sale associates to scan the barcode of the item to find your purchase information.

Talk to customer service: Return shipping fees are a pain, but not all store policies are set in stone. For example, a friend of mine recently ordered red and white wine glasses from a popular home goods store and wasn’t satisfied with the appearance of the white wine glasses. I suggested she contact customer service to request a free return shipping label since she wasn’t pleased with the product. She followed my advice and received a FedEx prepaid mailing label to her inbox. While this method isn’t a sure thing, you have much better odds of getting what you want when you simply ask, especially if you are displeased with the quality of the goods!

Stick with an exchange: Many stores like DSW offer free return shipping for direct exchanges. Macy’s and Kohl’s offer in-store exchanges for merchandise purchased online, and The Limited waives shipping fees on exchanges an even offers quicker turnaround for such orders through their Rapid Exchange Service. Ultimately, stores view exchanges more favorably than returns and often make it easier and cheaper for customers to replace an unwanted item with something more desirable. Review the store’s return policy for specifics on exchanges, or chat with a live customer service rep for more detailed information.

Get cash for merchandise credit: When returning a gift, you often receive a merchandise credit or gift card in exchange. This works out great if the gift came from a store you like. If you’re not interested in anything the retailer offers, don’t fret: you can exchange your merchandise gift card for cash. GiftCardGranny.com and other sites like this make it easy to sell your gift cards and receive payment via check, PayPal or even Amazon gift cards in some cases. You can get back up to 92% of the gift card value, which is much better than holding onto one you never intend to spend!

Compare rates & prepare your package: If you are responsible for return shipping fees, don’t just return the item with the same carrier used by the store. Instead, quickly compare shipping rates at Office Depot’s shipping center. They can give you the cheapest method and carrier for your return so you don’t have to pay any more than necessary. Also be sure to remove previous shipping labels and include the return form in the package to expedite the return process. Keep in mind, some online stores require the item be returned in the original box it was received in, so review the policy before sending. For example, Zappos requires returns to be sent back in the original box or packaging in order to qualify for free return shipping.

Verify the refund: If you fail to review your bank account or credit card for the online refund, you may be missing out on the credit. Recently, I realized a gift I returned to Nordstrom was refunded back to the person who gave it to me instead of to my own store account. In another situation, a return made to Anthropologie was accidentally repurchased and resulted in a double charge for an item I sent back. Had I not reviewed my statement, I would have missed these two mistakes! In other situations, stores like Toys ‘R Us and Babies ‘R Us state the refund will be applied to the purchaser’s original form of payment only. In these instances, it’s better to return the item in store for a merchandise credit, exchange it for something you’d rather have or hold onto it for regifting later in the year.

Consider regifting it: If you don’t want to pay those return shipping fees and can’t find anything you want in exchange, hold onto the item to use as a re-gift. The item itself might be great for a friend or family member’s upcoming birthday, or look ahead to a summer wedding and exchange the product for an item you can give as a gift. This represents a great way to save money on an upcoming expense while putting an otherwise unwanted item to good use.

Sell it yourself: Not all unwanted online orders can be returned. Whether you missed the return deadline or the item was marked final sale, it doesn’t mean you have to be stuck with something you’ll never use. Take your chance at selling the goods yourself online via sites like eBay or Craigslist. Review similar products and brands others sold to determine the best price and take good pictures to boost views. Aside from these popular online marketplaces, you can sell gadgets at NextWorth.com and clothes or accessories at thredUp.com.

Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized shopping expert for Kinoli Inc., who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. She has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. For more information, visit AndreaWoroch.com or follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.

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Space

SpaceX Is Sending A Japanese Billionaire On A Trip Around The Moon

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BFR Stage Separation

A few days back, SpaceX tweeted that they had signed the world’s first private passenger to fly around the Moon aboard their BFR launch vehicle, with a cryptic Japanese flag emoji providing the only clue as to who the passenger might be.

Today, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk took to the stage at a press event at SpaceX’s headquarters and announced that Japanese fashion magnate Yusaku Maezawa would be the first person to make the journey around the moon. The BFR Lunar Mission will last an estimated four to five days and will take place as early as 2023.

Maezawa is the 42-year-old Japanese billionaire founder of the custom clothing online retailer ZOZO, with a reported net worth of $3.6 billion. Needless to say, he’s got the wherewithal to afford such an extravagant expenditure.

BFR Passing The Moon

“Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the moon,” Maezawa said during the press conference. “Just staring at the moon fueled my imagination; it’s always there and has continued to inspire humanity. That is why I do not pass up this opportunity to see the moon up close.”

But that’s not all. Maezawa is inviting six to eight artists from around the world to join him on this mission to the Moon. The billionaire said he will invited painters, sculptors, musicians, and architects from around the world. Upon their return all he requests is that they create a work of art using their stellar trek as inspiration.

“These artists will be asked to create something when they return to Earth,” said Maezawa. “These masterpieces will inspire the dreamer inside all of us. Needless to say, we’ve always been inspired by the Moon. Take for example, Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, Van Gogh’s Starry Night, and The Beatles’ Mr. Moonlight.”

BFR In Flight

If successful, Maezawa and the people who join him will be the first humans to travel to the Moon since the final Apollo mission in 1972. But before history is made, the BFR needs to be constructed, and they’ve got five years to do so. An ambitious time table, but Musk and team believe they can do it.

The BFR Lunar Mission is the first step in Elon Musk’s master plan, as he wants humanity “to become a multi-planet civilization as soon as possible” and that he hopes to “make people excited about the future.”

Mission accomplished Elon, 2023 can’t get here soon enough!

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How Cool Is This

You’ll Never Run Out Of Power Again With The 20,100 mAh Novoo AC Power Bank

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This is a sponsored post on behalf of Omars Electronics, but all thoughts are our own.

Novoo AC Power Bank

How many of you suffer from charge anxiety, worried about one of your devices (phone, tablet, laptop, etc) running out of juice when you’re out and about? We’ve all been there, frantically searching for a free outlet to plug into and get charged up.

As someone who travels frequently, this is something I constantly struggle with, as it’s easy to drain your battery on a cross-country flight while playing Candy Crush or watching movies… especially if the airplane you’re on doesn’t have a USB port or power outlet.

To combat this, I always travel with a “pocket power bank”, which can charge up my phone or tablet in an emergency. But they’re not good for much else, as these little power banks simply don’t have a lot of juice, not to mention the fact that you can’t charge other devices, like your laptop (assuming it doesn’t draw too much wattage), DSLR, Bluetooth headphones, or drone.

Novoo AC Power Bank

So what’s the alternative? The 20,100 mAh Novoo AC Power Bank is your energy solution to keep your laptops, tablets, smartphones and other digital devices charged anytime, anywhere. Not only is that a CRAZY amount of battery capacity (enough to charge a smartphone more than five times), but you can charge multiple devices at once, and it supports three different types of ports: USB, USB-C, and an AC outlet.

It’s that last one that had me perk up and take notice, as I am rarely able to get through a long flight without my laptop running out of juice. With the Novoo AC Power Bank, I can plug in my laptop when I’m running low on juice and keep on going. It’s also handy if you’re traveling abroad and don’t want to buy a power adapter, or if you’re camping out in the woods. Simply charge this bad boy up before your trip, and use it to recharge your devices instead.

This actually would have been a lifesaver when I visited London last year, as I totally forgot to pack a power adaptor in my haste. Both my laptop and GoPro ran out of juice while I was out there, and I had no way of charging them back up. But if I had the Novoo AC Power Bank with me, I would have been good to go. Talk about a rookie mistake!

Novoo AC Power Bank

Best of all, the Novoo AC Power Bank won’t take up a lot of room in your backpack, as it’s only a little bigger than a soda can, measuring in at 80mm x 80mm x 155mm and weighing just 2.12 pounds. So what are you waiting for? If you’re constantly worried about running out of power, pick up the Novoo AC Power Bank (using coupon code NOVOOESS for 15% off) and leave that charge anxiety behind.

While you’re at it, make sure you check out the other sweet gear that Omars Electronics offers for power users, like their Omars 10-Port Hub (use coupon code OMARS10P for 15% off) and the Omars Beast – a crazy huge capacity 26,800 mAh 90 watt AC power bank (use coupon code NOVOOTPB for 10% off).

Last but not least, you can enter to win your very own Novoo AC Power Bank:

Win an Omars Electronics 20,100 mAh AC Power Bank

Good luck!

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Guy Stuff

Here’s Your Chance To Shop Local While Giving Back To A Worthy Cause

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IndieDoGood

There’s no question that online retailers like Amazon have changed the game, allowing people to purchase virtually anything with the simple click of a button, and have it delivered within a few days. It’s super convenient for sure, but at what cost?

Over the years, we have seen these massive companies put the little Mom & Pop shops out of business. But fear not, because today’s younger generation is looking to change of all of that, all while giving back to some worthy causes.

Currently, 75% of millennial consumers consider it very important to support brands that give back to society, and 37% of those same consumers are more likely to buy items associated with a particular cause. And they want to support the Maker Movement by purchasing unique and innovative products made by inventors, designers, engineers, artists and true craftsman.

One company helping to facilitate this movement is IndieDoGood.com, which helps connect small businesses with consumers through their website, with tons of unique and innovative products to choose from. And best of all, they donate 5% of your total purchase price to your favorite charity. Seriously, how great is that?

You can check out this video to learn more about the IndieDoGood story.

The company was founded by Ron and Sue Otten, driven by their passion for giving back to charities and local communities along with their desire to provide an environment where entrepreneurs can tell their story, quickly go to market, and bring high-quality, artisanal products to shoppers around the world.

Here are a few products on IndieDoGood.com that caught our attention:

Shore Boards

IndieDoGood - Shore Boards

Shore Boards started by building hollow-wood paddle boards, that can even be customized and are gorgeous pieces of art. These top-quality boards are handmade for all types of board sports including Stand Up Paddle Boards, Longboards, and Wakesurf boards. This video gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the way these boards are made and provides some insights to this home-grown artisan company.

MotionWise Standing Desk

IndieDoGood - MotionWise Standing Desk

Studies have long shown many health disadvantages of prolonged sitting, they call it “Sitting Disease”. As someone who spends most of my day sitting in front of a computer screen, I could definitely benefit from MotionWise’s creatively-designed standing desks that provide improved blood flow throughout your body, increased energy, better posture, while actually helping you to burn more calories while working.

Hammer Head Swim Caps

IndieDoGood - Hammer Head Swim Caps

Hammer Head Swim Caps is the world’s ONLY protective swim cap. Did you know that water sports have more ER visits than football, rugby, and hockey? Hammer Head swim caps protect swimmers thanks to a patent-pending layer of honeycomb material inside the cap that helps to absorb and dissipate the shock of impact with the wall and other swimmers.

These are just a few examples from the ever-growing catalog of unique products available for purchase from IndieDoGood.com. So what do you say, who’s ready to support the Maker Movement while doing some good for your favorite charity?


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by IndieDoGood, but all opinions are my own.

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