A full returns solution to improve the customer experience
As Plow & Hearth’s ecommerce business expanded, a growing number of returns began to fill up their facility, leaving less room for forward fulfillment. Plow & Hearth sought a partner who could solve that immediate challenge quickly, but also address the entire returns lifecycle long-term. By implementing Optoro’s Returns Experience, Returns Management, and Recommerce solutions, Plow & Hearth introduced a customer-facing returns portal for improved customer experience, outsourced returns processing to free up capacity, and improved recovery on returns by unlocking additional channels for resale.
Optoro provided a solution that addressed our immediate needs while at the same time opening the door to recommerce opportunities we needed to grow our business. Today, customers’ expectations on return processing are very high and the Optoro solution delivers. Additionally, Optoro’s reporting has allowed our internal stakeholders to better understand their brands and business.
Ecommerce growth leads to space constraints and stalling customer satisfaction
In late 2019, an increase in ecommerce returns reduced space in Plow & Hearth’s facility for forward fulfillment. Needing to quickly move that inventory out, Plow & Hearth sought a solution to outsource returns. But beyond that immediate need, they wanted a technology partner that could improve the entire returns lifecycle at scale to support their ongoing growth. As more customers shopped online, Plow & Hearth needed to improve their ecommerce experience by adding a portal that allowed customers to initiate returns themselves. And to move returned inventory back to stock faster, Plow & Hearth wanted to replace manual returns processing, and upgrade to a data-driven disposition engine that could drop-ship returns back to end consumers.
Raising customer satisfaction
After implementing an online returns portal with Optoro’s Returns Experience solution, Plow & Hearth also equipped their call center with instructions on how to help customers navigate a return. Combined with the technology itself, this led to a more streamlined approach to returns initiation. Their customers positively responded, reporting 85% customer satisfaction rates.
Outsourcing returns increases profitability and speed-to-stock
By tapping Optoro to handle returns, Plow & Hearth’s facilities can now focus entirely on forward fulfillment, and processing speed has significantly improved. Once a return is initiated on Plow & Hearth’s new online portal, it is routed to Optoro’s facility for processing and then rerouted back to stock or to Optoro’s B2B marketplace, BULQ, for resale. Most importantly to Plow & Hearth, Optoro drop-ships $260K worth of inventory in a quarter, which preserves inventory’s seasonality and gets units back to end customers on an average of 6 days.
Making the outdoors a better place
In addition to improving the customer experience and speed-to-stock, Plow & Hearth unlocked additional resale channels through Optoro’s Recommerce solution. The result is that Plow & Hearth now re-sells 55% of inbound returns on BULQ. Now, only 2% of returns are going to landfill.
About the Customer
Plow & Hearth is a United States retailer based in Madison, Virginia, specializing in hearth and fireplace accessories; furniture and home furnishings; and lawn and garden accessories. The company was established in 1980 and has 12 physical stores and operates as 4 brands: Plow & Hearth, Vivaterra, Wind & Weather, Hearthsong.