How Marc Nolan got off on the right foot
While working in retail shoe stores, Sebastian Malczewski couldn't help but notice a huge gap in the market. There were simply no comfortable shoes that could be dressed up and down.
Marc Nolan set out to create a one-of-a-kind collection that would fill the gap and blur the lines between dressy and casual shoes manufactured from high-quality materials.
In 2018, they started with one retail location. When the pandemic hit, they shifted entirely to online sales and have only just restarted opening physical stores. While the decision to go online removes a lot of business obstacles, it means that you live or die by your customer experience. From 2018 to 2022, they've seen over 2500% sales growth, and their business at least double yearly, accelerated by COVID-19.
|eCommerce||<25||Europe and the United States|
Manual returns were tripping them up
“Our returns process was all manual," said Nikolas Callas, Director of Operations at Marc Nolan. "In the beginning, we were communicating with customers about their returns via phone, email, text, or through social channels. We also had to manually create labels and send them through each of these channels."
There was no tracking or analytics—it was all done on spreadsheets. This process was not only time-consuming, but it was also error-prone.
“We were working in the dark with our customers, hoping they received the shoes that they wanted in exchange or got their money back on time. It was very rough.”
This time-intensive process wasn't just a hassle for Marc Nolan, with their customers getting equally frustrated by the drawn-out wait for replacements and refunds. It was time for a solution.
Looking for a solution with the perfect fit
When looking for a returns management solution, Marc Nolan was looking to solve two main problems:
- Find a solution that would have all returns information in one spot
- Find a solution that could automate the returns process (including label generation)
“We were looking around at the Shopify App store for Shopify-compatible solutions. AfterShip Returns was one of the top-rated ones, which is why it popped up and looked attractive to us," said Callas.
After taking AfterShip Returns for a spin, they were quickly convinced that this was the solution for them. They loved how user-friendly it was with the easy integration with Shopify—and best of all, it automated their entire returns process.
“We used to be worried about automation. Now, we have a portal — it reduces emails and phone calls to our customer service team.”
Using AfterShip Returns, the Marc Nolan team can automatically generate return labels and send them to customers via email—which has been a huge time-saver. They’ve also been able to keep track of all their return requests in one place, which has made things much more organized and efficient.
“AfterShip Returns has ticked off all the boxes on what would make the returns process easier for our customers and for us.”
AfterShip Returns gives Marc Nolan more time
The biggest benefit that Marc Nolan has seen since using AfterShip Returns is the ability to get time back.
When Nikolas first started, managing returns took up at least 50% of his day, which equates to roughly 35 hours manually handling a clunky returns process.
With AfterShip Returns, this process is down to one hour. That's a decrease of 97% of time spent on the returns process. Nikolas and his team now focus on other business areas, like partnering with the CEO to get into PR and working with social media influencers to grow the brand.
“It’s just so easy and effortless for me to check in on things and work with the returns portal. I don’t have to worry about it anymore. There’s so much time that I’ve saved so that I can direct my focus elsewhere.”
Nikolas Callas, Director of Operations
Turning customers into sole mates with increased exchanges
AfterShip Returns's ‘Exchange for Other Items’ feature has also made things much easier for Marc Nolan.
“The biggest benefit was creating the exchange orders," explained Callas. When people wanted to do an exchange, they used to type it out into a note field and submit those requests. Then they would have to play the waiting game, praying that it would be in stock.
"More often than not, we had issues where we’d get a return where our customers wanted something for exchanges, but it wasn’t available in inventory. They would have no choice but to get a refund. That was a really poor experience for the customer. It’s frustrating for them.”
Before this exchange feature, 75% of their returns turned into refunds, with only 25% turning into an exchange. Now, things are different. Roughly 50% of their returns have become refunds; 1% of refund to store credit, and 49% exchanged for other items.
By doubling the number of exchanges they can process, more revenue comes back to Marc Nolan.
“This exchange feature took every problem away. It’s also saved a lot of revenue—$125k in the last 90 days.”
Nikolas Callas, Director of Operations
"Historically, those would have just resulted in a dead refund. That amount will only keep going up as we get more and more returns," said Callas.
Between the saved time and the saved revenue, it’s safe to say that Marc Nolan is more than happy with their decision to use AfterShip Returns.
“The customer returns process is more simplified and streamlined," concluded Callas. "But this exchange feature was one of the final stones for the customer to fully do it themselves and make this as automated of a system as we possibly can.”
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