Consumers tell the retail world over and over that convenience is king — and they’re willing to pay for it. At the same time, retailers are looking for solutions to make returns more efficient and less costly. So it’s no surprise that the most funded sector in retail is pickup and delivery services. Out of $5.1B in retail VC funding in 2021, you have to look past the top 10 to see investment outside the delivery space.
Consumers on the Narvar platform make their desire for convenience clear with the selections they choose, opting for QR codes instead of printing a label, or selecting a drop-off location that’s in the neighborhood. And in our recent consumer surveys, 61% told us scheduled return pickups were very valuable or even must-have, and about 40% would pay for scheduled pickup or delivery. Courier-driven convenience has ushered in a sea change in consumer expectations and the change is here to stay.
With the goal of helping our retailers bring the best in convenience and choice to their consumers, the team at Narvar is proud to introduce Home Pickup, a returns service that allows consumers to schedule a courier to pick up return packages from the comfort of their homes.
More than 100 retailers, including DSW and Ann Taylor, have joined the program which launched just before the holiday season, and has moved hundreds of thousands in GMV across 10 major US cities. The program has kept its promise to consumers and retailers, yielding high customer satisfaction scores and faster return times. Lastly, the program is free to all our retail clients and requires no development. The service fee is paid entirely by consumers, though retailers have the option to provide this as a free service or cover the cost for VIPs and loyalists.
Consumers can now choose Home Pickup as a return method while completing their online returns experience, alongside other options like dropping off at a convenient location or store. They can provide additional details and opt for a contactless pickup, and a courier will be scheduled once their return is submitted. Since the launch of the program which included the busy holiday peak season, the program held a strong 65 NPS score, and 40% of consumers chose contactless pickups.
Home Pickup operates, by default, as a next-day courier pickup program. While we support scheduled pickups up to 5 days out, we’ve seen 90% of consumers choose the next day for their pickup. This rapid turnaround cuts the time between initiating the return to shipping the item by over 25% on average.
We work with multiple national last-mile courier companies to facilitate pickups. Couriers are trained with a special operating process for our pickups. We also built a special support function to respond to any consumer inquiries or concerns, replete with guides and materials for retailer Customer Care teams. Narvar insures up to $200 of the overall return cart, which covers 85% of all returns and doubles the amount covered by carriers. We’re thankful to report zero loss or damage cases in the more than 3 months we’ve been live.
We’re thrilled about the success of Home Pickup and see three clear avenues for growth: expanding coverage, improving the experience for consumers, and offering our clients more control.
Already in 10 US cities, we’ll be expanding across the United States in the coming months and widening our courier network while keeping an eye on EMEA, where pickup services are a cultural mainstay.
Retailers tell us they love the convenience and fulfillment benefits of pickup and want to be able to offer it at discounts for their members and VIPs. We’ll be unveiling more retailer control around price and visibility as well as improved analytics to help them build their pickup playbook.
As we iterate this service for consumers, near-term improvements will include tighter pickup windows, real-time updates, no-label and boxless pickups, and same-day pickups. We also look toward replicating the success of return pickups in outbound delivery.
We’re excited for what the future holds for this exploding market and, if you’re interested in learning more, please reach out to the Narvar team today.
Tim is the Senior Product Manager for Returns with expertise in building scalable, performant enterprise solutions. He hails from Workday where he grew a background in messaging, security, and productivity tools.