StellaService Report: Top 10 Retailers with Fastest Order Life Cycles

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By Jake Novick, Senior Research Associate, StellaService

On Happy Customer, we’ve frequently documented the importance of speed in both the delivery and the return side of the online shopping experience. We’ve shown data on how some retailers are upgrading their standard shipping service and, on the other side, how Apple had started to use expedited shipping for its returns in recent months. However, until now, we haven’t analyzed the combination of the two. So, which retailers are investing in speed across delivery and returns?

Enter a new StellaService metric called Order Life Cycle.

We define Order Life Cycle, or OLC, as the sum of Total Days to Delivery and the Total Days to Refund Processed for a given order. The impetus for tracking this metric was to get a more holistic view of the fulfillment process from the shopper’s perspective. While many retailers are beginning to understand the value shoppers place on fast shipping with programs imitating Amazon …

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More than a Million Boxes Reused With ‘A Box Life’ Program

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A StellaService Analyst shopping Sorel.com recently noticed an option at checkout that lets shoppers opt in to have their shipment sent in a reused box.

The option caught our analyst by surprise, so we decided to dig in further.

Turns out this eco-friendly initiative began at Columbia Sportswear in 2009. Officially dubbed “A Box Life,” the program enables shoppers to select a used box, each one containing a unique QR Code that tracks everywhere the box is delivered. Shoppers can then share the story of their box on the website ABoxLife.com, where the path of each box is plotted on Google Maps, showing every destination, total miles the box has traveled and how many boxes have been saved in the process.

To date, 1,045,120 boxes have been reused, and the most traveled box on the site has been shipped across more than 11,000 miles.

Columbia created A Box Life with the hope that other companies would join in the effort. Participating brands and retailers include Sorel, Mountain …

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Forrester Report: Every Online Retailer Should Ship-from-Store

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StellaService data shows that Best Buy reduced standard shipping speeds by two days on average due to fulfilling online orders from physical stores. Photo: Mike Mozart / Creative Commons license. 

A recent report from Forrester, Why Every Online Retailer Should Ship-from-Store, looks at the broad opportunity ship-from-store presents for online retailers.

“Online retailers are feeling the pain of Prime. It’s hard to compete with free two-day shipping — few other retailers have the customer base or the deep pockets to develop competitive programs. Ship-from-store programs provide a unique opportunity to level the playing field and get merchandise in the hands of the customer quickly and cheaply.”

Key benefits for retailers that use physical stores to fulfill online orders include increased revenue, margin gains from supply chain optimization and improved customer experience. Therefore, the report’s authors suggest that all online retailers should fulfill from …

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Are You Innovating or Playing Customer Service Catch-Up?

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Jordy Leiser is Co-founder and CEO of StellaService.

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about an awesome innovation from Amazon. I would stop if they would stop.

While the company’s new streaming media box, Amazon Fire TV, received a greater share of recent headlines, it was the Amazon Dash that grabbed my attention. The Dash is a wand-like wireless device that includes a microphone and a barcode scanner, enabling users to add items to an AmazonFresh shopping list by scanning a product’s bar code or speaking its name. Need apples? Say, “apples” into the microphone and apples will arrive the next day, touts the Dash launch video.

There are plenty of massive retailers that are still trying to figure out how to migrate their bread-and-butter brick-and-mortar business to an e-commerce model, which brings up a new set of challenges in fulfillment and customer service. Meanwhile, Amazon is installing a checkout lane in the kitchen.

I know much of this technology lives …

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StellaService Study: Mass Merchants Struggle With Shipping Breakable Items

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By Emily Kolodner, Senior Research Associate, StellaService

Everyone has experienced it at least once in their online shopping lives: click the ‘confirm purchase’ button on the item you’ve been pining for, then anxiously check the shipment status on a tracking page until it finally arrives. Except this time, you peel back the tissue only to discover the $50 bottle of liquid concealer you ordered has exploded all over the inside of the box. (Who remembers the Great Nail Polish Fiasco of 2013?)

It’s a nightmare shared by shopper, shipper and carrier alike. While all parties end up paying in the end, the cost is surely steepest for the retailer who not only pays the price to make it right, but also risks losing the business of the disgruntled shopper entirely. Proper protection of items is clearly a priority for most retailers, as only 2% of products ordered in the past 12 months by StellaService Analysts have arrived damaged.

Beauty and cosmetics e-tailers typically are at the …

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