QALO Case Study: Automating Returns

Published on September 08, 2016
QALO Logo

Fact Sheet

  • Business: Silicone Rings for Active People
  • Website: qalo.com
  • EasyPost APIs Used: Shipping API

Nobody in eCommerce enjoys the return/exchange process, but it’s an extremely important process that determines customer retention. In 2014, Harris Interactive reported that 85% of customers say they will stop buying from a business if the returns process is arduous, while 95% of customers will shop with a business again if their online returns process is convenient.

Still, many brands simply don’t invest enough resources to optimize their returns processes, which can lead to an experience that ruins a customer’s trust. To this day, many brands rely on manual processes to handle returns and exchanges, which leads to costly errors and lacks scalability.

Simply put, we know how tough it can be for brands when it comes to returns. So when we saw QALO use EasyPost to automate their exchange process, we were impressed. We saw a brand that found a creative way to leverage our Shipping Label API to condense an exchange process from 7-14 days to 2-5 days. That’s the kind of service that retains customers.

The Background

QALO Silicone Rings for Active People

QALO is a silicone wedding ring that's a perfect fit for people who are active like climbers, hikers, surfers and athletes, and those who have careers that make wearing a traditional wedding ring a safety hazard. Traditional wedding rings can tarnish and scratch, and they're dangerous if they're caught on something. QALO's silicone wedding ring is a statement piece that allows you to show your commitment, even when a metal wedding ring isn’t an option. Since 2012, they've grown from their first silicone rings to selling a full range of ring styles and silhouettes, along with apparel and accessories.

The Logistics

Since QALO's main product is their silicone ring - and since most customers don’t know their ring sizes by heart - they deal with more returns than the average eCommerce brand. Up to 10% of QALO's customers return their rings, which is a lot of returns for any brand to deal with.

Like most established eCommerce brands, QALO has a solid fulfillment process in place. They have a 3PL that deals with orders, technology in place for postage, tracking, and address verification, and negotiated rates with carriers to keep costs manageable. Still, their existing logistics infrastructure was struggling to keep up with the high rate of exchanges.

The Problem

Exchanges are a huge part of QALO’s business, and they’ve built their operations assuming that a sizable chunk of customers will initiate an exchange. They even included packing slips and return labels in every outbound package to speed the process along. Still, their exchange process wasn’t scaling with their growth.

Before EasyPost, QALO would manually process exchanges. Whenever a customer wanted to exchange something, they’d have to reach out to QALO’s support team, fill out the packing slip, and send the package back with a return label. Then the customer would have to wait even longer for QALO to process the return and ship a replacement. A completed exchange could take anywhere from 7-14 days.

On top of that, everything was done manually, putting a heavy operational load on the brand. QALO had to create a dedicated team to handle exchanges, which is a good short-term solution, but one that would be difficult to scale.

The Solution

QALO Silicone Rings for Active People

Once QALO implemented EasyPost’s Shipping Label API, they were able to integrate EasyPost into their RMA (return merchandise authorization) system. Once they laid that foundation, QALO was able to build a page that could commission a product exchange in minutes. No agents, no emails, no phone calls required. All the customer has to do is pick the new ring size and color, then print a generated return label.

QALO then leveraged EasyPost's tracking webhooks to quicken the returns process. With webhooks, QALO is able to get proactive updates whenever a tracking event is logged, instead of constantly polling their API for updates. In this case, our Tracking API signals QALO's OMS to begin processing a return as soon as the return shipment is scanned by the carrier. The returns once took 7-14 days to fully process, but with EasyPost, QALO was able to condense that wait time to 2-5 days.

This optimization speaks volumes about the creativity of QALO’s team, as well as the flexibility of the EasyPost API. By using EasyPost as a bridge to their carriers, they were able to create the automation necessary to upgrade the entire exchange process. Instead of processing exchanges by hand, they managed to make exchanges automated, scalable, and fast. In today’s eCommerce landscape, that’s a differentiator that wins customer loyalty.

"Now with EasyPost integrated into our automated RMA system, the entire returns process is only 2-5 days! EasyPost has made it easier for us to get our customers what they need."

Gregg Angier, Director of Operations, QALO

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