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How Fellow Reduced Resolution Time by 52% with AfterShip Returns


reduction in resolution time


boost in revenue recapture


Fellow - Brewing ridiculously good coffee

Fellow, based in San Francisco, revolutionizes the coffee brewing experience. They create beautifully functional tools that bring the cafe experience to homes. Their product range includes kettles, coffee essentials, drinkware, accessories, and coffee beans. Fellow prioritizes creative risks and unconventional design decisions, raising the standard of home coffee brewing.

They emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusion, creating a space for everyone at the table. Combined with their physical stores in San Francisco and Los Angeles, they are committed to fostering an engaged coffee community.

Industry Team size Location
Food & Beverage, Consumer Goods Under 200 San Francisco

The Challenge

Fellow previously used a manual returns management process, lacking key integrations, core features, and quality analytics. This led to inflexibility, manual intervention, and an inefficient user experience. The system's inability to charge return fees compounded challenges, impacting the company's business and customer experience. They also lacked quality support, leaving issues unresolved and exacerbating operational challenges.

Another major issue was the cumbersome process of issuing gift card refunds. Stephen Davis Hernandez, Digital Product Manager at Fellow, recalled, "Refunds, exchanges, and store credit were a manual process on our previous solution, requiring CX agents to issue gift cards and track return warehouse receipts constantly. Agents would often get overwhelmed and lacked the time to actively track the latest return status, adding days to our resolution time.”

Refunds were often riddled with delays due to human error, increasing return lead times and negatively impacting customer satisfaction.

“Our previous solution was inflexible with integrations, lacking an open API, and was unable to provide quality analytics - leaving us with a disruptive user experience. It lacked a quality return tracking experience and was unable to charge customers return fees effectively.”

Stephen Davis Hernandez, Digital Product Manager @ Fellow

The Solution

Fellow has significantly improved in enforcing their return policy and managing returns volume since implementing AfterShip Returns automation. The results have been transformative, leading to faster processing times and a greatly improved customer experience. The most telling metric is a 52% reduction in average resolution time. Previously, in July 2023, the average resolution time was 14.46 days. However, this time was dramatically reduced to just 7.52 days in less than 6 months.

"The automation rules on AfterShip Returns are amazing," continued Davis Hernandez. "Being able to optimize that resolution as much as possible has been fantastic. The specificity of the return routing rules is much better than our previous solution and enables shorter resolutions."

Automation found within AfterShip Returns is one of the many things that helped turn things around. “With AfterShip Returns, the bottleneck of manual returns processing is gone, and exchanges are ready to be shipped as soon as a return has been received. This level of automation is incredible and appreciated by our team and customers."

The Strategy

Fellow looked at their returns process and identified a few points where AfterShips Returns could help. Specifically, they looked for areas where they could lower operational costs, recapture revenue, and improve the overall returns experience.

Use eligibility rules and return fee management to lower costs

The company has streamlined operations by implementing efficient return fee management and introducing green and in-store returns. Notably, 22% of returns are now green without the need to collect the package from the customer, supporting sustainability, with an additional 7% conveniently returned in-store by customers. Davis Hernandez continued, "Shipping is one of our biggest costs with returns. AfterShip Returns' ability to properly charge return fees has greatly improved our bottom line."

Fellow has automated their store's return policy, making it more streamlined. For instance, they can designate personalized items and coffee beans as final sale items, not eligible for returns. The company has improved return policy enforcement, especially for electronic and non-electronic products. With better returns management, Fellow can free up the workload of 1.5 customer support agents, refocusing that time on providing better product guidance to customers.

AfterShip Returns also helps Fellow minimize return fraud automatically, flagging requests and notifying their team. "We've noticed some customers trying to game our returns policy," remarked Davis Hernandez. “AfterShip Returns has supported us in addressing fraud with automated blocklists, flagging suspicious orders and not auto-generating return labels."

Support in-store and on-store returns and exchanges to boost CX

Fellow has significantly enhanced the returns experience for customers with in-store returns. This simpler method provides more convenience and allows customers to exchange items or receive instant refunds easily. In just a few months with AfterShip Returns, they have converted almost 15% of refunds into exchanges.

"It's been really helpful to receive items in-store and let shoppers drop them off,” explained Davis Hernandez. “Returned items can be quickly restocked in the store inventory, and shoppers can pick out items right there. Shoppers don't have to wait for their return to be delivered, and inventory management has been much easier."

Fellow has also enhanced the returns experience by allowing on-store exchanges. Rather than conducting exchanges in-app through AfterShip Returns, they've enabled customers to make exchanges directly on their platform (i.e., Shopify). This has led to less confusion and easier exchanges for customers. "We wanted a consistent shopping experience for our customers," continued Davis Hernandez. "We found that AfterShip's on-store exchanges reduced confusion and simplified shoppers' ability to search for items.”

Gain insights from analytics and offer flexible options to recapture revenue

AfterShip Returns' real-time data has been instrumental in recapturing revenue for Fellow. Visual analytics and notifications have improved product performance and provided valuable insights into the effectiveness of their system.

The leading brand now automatically converts over 10% of refunds into store credit. By pairing the new store credit process with real-time return tracking, Fellow has eliminated agents' need to update return requests manually.

Impressively, Fellow has recaptured over 20% of their revenue with exchanges and store credit.

Products used
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Return rate

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The entire returns flow has been made simpler and more efficient with the help of AfterShip Returns. And as Fellow continues to grow, they are confident in their ability to maintain a positive and seamless returns experience for their customers.

“We're big fans of the product and are now looking into other AfterShip products.”

Stephen Davis Hernandez, Digital Product Manager @ Fellow

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