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Global Ecommerce and International Expansion | Pitney Bowes

Allbirds takes flight with Pitney Bowes shipping and returns.

Client profile

Created with a vision to do things differently

Strives to make shoes that look great and feel amazing throughout the entire day

Has achieved B Corporation certification, meaning they meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency

Based in San Francisco, CA

Business goals

Give the customer more control through an easy returns process

Eliminate the need for shoppers to call customer service

Provide more visibility into the status of the return

 

Benefits

Better visibility and management of the entire returns process

30% drop in customer support calls

Cost-savings on shipping and labor costs

95% of packages shipped in the U.S. are shipped 3-business days delivery

Technology used

Pitney Bowes Complete™ Returns powered by SmartLabel® technology

Complete Returns™ is a suite of returns management solutions that empower retailers to exceed those expectations—and accomplish much more.

Learn more

Overview

Allbirds is the maker of sustainable Merino wool shoes, referred to as “the world’s most comfortable shoes.” It launched its website in March 2016 with the following pledge to its customers: “Try our shoes for 30 days, and if you aren’t completely over the moon, we’ll take them back—no questions asked.”

Business challenge

“Pitney Bowes acts as logistics consultants to Allbirds. Their team looks for the best solutions for us, not what’s best for them. They even educate us and give advice on projects we’re not working on together, but where they have extensive knowledge. This has been invaluable to our team.” Halil Gursoy,
Director of Supply Chain,
Allbirds

The Allbirds team and their customers soon realized the limitations of the Allbirds manual returns process. To initiate a return, Allbirds customers had to first call the contact center, then Allbirds would process a label and email it to the customer. Customers were unhappy, and the process was costly and time-consuming for Allbirds. To make matters worse, customers could not track their returned packages or their refunds.

 

Allbirds needed a way to give the customer more control by streamlining the returns process, eliminating the need for shoppers to call customer service and providing more visibility into the status of the return.

 

Solution

“Beyond the cost-savings we’ve experienced with Pitney Bowes returns management, we also gain better visibility and management of the entire returns process. Now that we know what inventory is coming back, we plan to use that data to more effectively staff our warehouses and save on labor costs.” Halil Gursoy,
Director of Supply Chain,
Allbirds

Allbirds evaluated a number of returns companies and chose Pitney Bowes, impressed with the scale the company could provide and their experience working with leading retail brands.

The retail startup began by implementing Complete Returns powered by SmartLabel technology, creating a more streamlined internal returns process while providing a seamless returns experience for shoppers.

Pitney Bowes SmartLabel technology provides end-to-end tracking at every step, including first mile pickup through the United States Postal Service (USPS). Customers simply affix the SmartLabel return label to their package and hand it to their postal carrier or drop it in any USPS mail station, with no customer service call required.

By integrating the Allbirds and USPS systems, Pitney Bowes was able to provide Allbirds and their customers with visibility into the status of every package, while providing a consistent, branded experience. The easily-accessible tracking information improved customer service and minimized inbound inquiries to the Allbirds call center. Once returns arrived at the warehouse they were processed in 24 hours, and customers could see their refund was headed their way.

Benefits

“Beyond the cost-savings we’ve experienced with Pitney Bowes Complete Returns, we’ve also gained better visibility and management of the entire returns process,” explained Halil Gursoy, Director of Supply Chain for Allbirds. “Now that we know what inventory is coming back, we plan to use that data to more effectively staff our warehouses and save on labor costs.”

Working with Pitney Bowes not only transformed the Allbirds returns process. The retailer is now also able to provide more flexible and competitive delivery pricing options while improving tracking visibility.

These new pricing capabilities have become critical with the introduction of dimensional weight pricing (DIM) by UPS and FedEx. These carriers use package dimensions, rather than weight, to price all ground service packages. This is a disadvantage for retailers like Allbirds who ship lightweight packages.

Allbirds has also been able to expedite some transit times thanks to a new Sunday pickup that will help get packages to shoppers even faster—especially helpful during the busy holiday season when every day counts.