Merchant Innovation

Shipping Startup Helps “Shyp” Back Online Purchases

Having made a name for themselves in providing an on-demand shipping service, Shyp announced on March 4 that it would now enable customers to return items bought from select retailers, fixing something the company claims was an inefficiency in the realm of e-commerce.

This new development came out of an observation that returning goods bought online was a time consuming process involving prepaid labels, re-finding the original boxes, and spending time at the post office or waiting for a package to be picked up. Shyp essentially reverse engineers its delivery service for return postage, with a few tweaks.

To process a return, users go into the app, and click on “Add Shipment,” as they would for normal deliveries. Then, a feature asks to “Return Online Purchase” along with a list of featured retailers that have signed on for the service, including Amazon, Overstock, Nordstrom, and fashion rental company Rent the Runway. The consumer then takes a picture of the item and pays the $5 fee for the service. No box is required. The customer will be notified when the item is shipped and when it gets back to the retailer it was sent from.

While the company’s official blog post states that it aims to service the one-third of online purchases that wind up getting returned for various reasons, CEO Kevin Gibbon, in a phone call to VentureBeat, said that it was also in response to people “hacking the system” by using Shyp to return items already, accounting for over 15 percent of items handled.

“They would have a purchase from Amazon, they’d go to Amazon and initiate a return, and then they would [go to Shyp], enter in the Amazon Warehouse as their destination, and then hand us the pre-paid label,” Gibbon said.

Just last month, Shyp, which launched in San Francisco in 2013, announced its expansion to the Android market. It has since spread to New York City and Miami, and is expected to expand to more destinations in the near future.

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