Returns can be the bane of doing business, especially for large and bulky items. Unlike parcel-sized returns, big stuff takes a special set of tools. From tracking to truck space, the work is just different; it’s harder getting large things back in-house (or wherever they need to go).
I like to think in terms of allegory…of stories. How can we learn from stories so we don’t have to fall into the same holes that others have? In my previous life as a high school English teacher, my job was helping people to understand certain basic ideas we all use in our daily lives, so my mind always went to “How can I wrap this in a story?”
So I’m going to do that here.
What you’re about to read is a fictitious story based on what we hear and see every day. It’s told through the eyes of a TV character I’ve grown to love. See if you can figure out who the inspiration for this story is.
Through this, you’ll gain an understanding of how uShip makes returns easy and gives small to medium-sized businesses some of the power that massive corporations have in their supply chains to give them the leverage they need to compete.
Ron is a local government worker in the state of Indiana. There, Ron is a department head full time, but in his spare time, he loves to work with wood; he builds everything from chairs and tables to boxes and beds. He even carved a small boat by hand. It’s impressive stuff.
Lately, he decided to start selling his wares online. He was reluctant at first; for context, he still uses a flip phone, but he knew there was a market out there.
First, it was just local buyers, but his craftsmanship is so good that word spread. He was even featured on the local TV channel for his skill. It’s what put the idea in his mind to start selling his work in the first place.
How it Started and Where It Is Now
Slow and steady at first, the local orders were easy to get into the hands of customers. They simply came by his shop once each item was finished and drove off with their hand-made whatever! He usually met the customer before beginning any project so he knew exactly what they wanted. Things were great…easy, even.
Knowing he was onto something, he pulled the trigger on e-commerce. This presented new challenges, but he knew the opportunity could be huge.
With his online efforts, Ron decided to just hone a few specific SKUs that were high quality and simpler to make. Once those were targeted, he began putting them on his new website and Etsy shop for sale across the country. Complete with pictures, dimensions, specs, and even shots of the furniture next to common items for scale, Ron was selling his work like hotcakes.
Having ramped up a bit, Ron brought in some hired help to both manage building new items as well as shipping them to customers. He couldn’t keep up with the demand. On rare occasions, returns started happening; he knew this was to be expected as he grew an online presence. Not seeing furniture in person before purchasing comes with its own risks regarding returns.
Because he’s focused, and some would say stubborn, Ron assumed he had to pay high prices to have returns shipped back to him in Indiana. He lost his hiney on an elaborate rocking chair he sold to a man in Washington. The chair didn’t meet his needs for the space he was putting it in. The return shipping ended up costing $89 more than the actual price of the chair. He knew there had to be another way.
A Solution He Didn’t Know Existed
Ron is the first to admit that he’s set in his ways. He’s the kind of guy who eats the same meal at the same time with the same drink every night. When a colleague (named Leslie) from his daily government work, whom he asked to help expand some of his newly burgeoning e-commerce efforts, came aboard, she found a way to make both the shipping out and the returning of these goods simpler, more efficient, and at a better price than Ron would have ever thought.
It was uShip.
Because his work is artisanal, it’s expensive and sometimes delicate. The pieces can stand up to daily use and are designed for that, but they aren’t designed to be beaten up in a cargo truck across the country.
Leslie had heard of uShip from another one of their colleagues, Tom, who used it to ship his belongings when he moved.
Through Leslie, Ron learned that with uShip’s marketplace, his team could tap into unused truck space to get not only the few returns they did incur back to his shop, but they could also use it for all of their larger shipping needs for orders going anywhere. It was a dream come true and made expanding nationwide easier than he thought.
Ron loved that because uShip offers first-to-last mile delivery and returns, the damage he was used to that was incurred in shipping and returns was mitigated. Those damage rates…they plummeted. This made reselling these returned pieces easier and more profitable.
An outdoorsman by nature (pun intended), Ron also likes that because of uShip’s first-to-last mile model, the emissions incorporated in his shipping and returns are lower than they would have been otherwise.
Another thing he loves is the customer experience his buyers get, both in the delivery and (when they rarely happen) returns process. Some of his customers are older, so moving even a rocking chair is hard. With uShip, his buyers get room-of-choice service. When a return does happen, the same is true there, too. The carrier will drop off, or grab from, whatever room the customer needs. They’ll also blanket-wrap the item, further driving down damage rates for Ron which keeps profitability as high as possible.
uShip Makes Delivery a Walk in the Park
For Ron, uShip has made both his delivery and return efforts seamless, affordable, and has left his customers WOWed. Most of the returns he incurs end up turning into repeat purchases — this is all because his newly revamped reverse logistics process is so clean and easy. His buyers enjoy a frictionless return experience, leaving them shocked at how well Ron has taken care of them.
With all of this success, Ron has established a wood furniture empire where he dominates the space, is on the cover of Forbes magazine every month, and has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. (It’s my story…I can end it how I want.)
But in All Reality…
While obviously fictitious, we see stories like this all the time. uShip empowers small and medium businesses to play like the big guys. We equip them to move items beyond the efficiency they have now, which allows them to keep their costs lowbut their customer satisfaction through the roof.
No matter what stage your business is in, uShip can help you meet your delivery and return goals and increase customer retention. Let’s talk!