Return to sender. Reason unknown.

One of the most frequently asked questions when I meet with retailers in Australia is “Can you do returns?”

By the way, the most frequent question is “Are you the Uber for Couriers?”
(We’re not and I believe the business model for uber-style couriers is flawed. You can read more about that here – Why Passel is NOT The Uber For Couriers.)

Returns are a significant pain point for retailers. Retail returns are costly to manage and create friction with their customers. The modern e-commerce customer has an expectation that they can return anything they buy online at no cost, and gain a full refund.

Returns are seen by many in e-commerce as a necessity, as the ability to return a purchase makes a customer more likely to buy in the first place.

And with some studies showing e-commerce return rates as high as 30%, retailers need to have some good solutions in place.

There are several challenges to returns, including cost (for a loss-making transaction, any cost might be too much), the amount of work involved for the retailer and the effort consumers are prepared to contribute to the process.

It’s taken a while, but we’ve figured out a way to do returns, yet still make the Passers happy to do the delivery. Delightful returns for brick and mortar retailers are now a possibility.

Of course, this is slightly different to our on-demand delivery service, but with 97% of our Passers telling us they are willing to help out, we’re confident we can make it happen.

I expect the pilot to kick off in the next few months, and I’ll keep you updated.

Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK

Our first European customer – Rose and Brimstone (https://roseandbrimstone.com/) – is ready to go. The marketing campaign to Passers will kick off on the weekend and as soon as we have enough Passers, we’ll start!

“Enough” is an interesting concept and not a fixed number. We’re extremely successful in Mornington (very outer suburban Melbourne) with what is, comparatively, few Passers. I think we’ll run with a significant oversupply of Passers in Belfast to give us enough confidence. We’ll see.

A few people have asked whether Brexit will have an effect on our operations in Belfast and Dublin. That’s a tough question to answer considering it appears not a single person on the planet can predict what will happen on Friday March 29.

In our case, Passel is a local delivery service. Although we will be delivering in Dublin and Belfast, we won’t be delivering between Dublin and Belfast.

So, we should be fine.