U.K.-based return technology provider Doddle has launched in the United States.
Doddle’s “click-and-collect” service enables shoppers to order items online and pick them up at Doddle locations inside their retail clients’ stores. Shoppers can pick up products from e-retailers such as Amazon.com Inc. (No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Europe 500) and Asos PLC Holdings (No. 20) via U.K. department stores operated by Debenhams PLC (No. 30) and Morrisons Supermarkets PLC. Shoppers also can return unwanted items to the same location as the Doddle pickup location using a self-service return kiosk, or they can chat with a Facebook Messenger Doddlebot to process the return.
While Doddle handles the equipment and provides the behind-the-scenes technology infrastructure, any customer-facing technology—for example, the return kiosks—are designed to match each retailer’s branding.
Enticing shoppers to visit the retail locations seems to be working in Doddle’s retail clients’s favor: 58% of consumers collecting or returning a package at one of Doddle’s partner locations have made an in-store purchase, Doddle CEO Tim Robinson says. And 40% of customers picking up their online shopping in Debenhams were new to buying with the brand.
“We want to create a better retail ecosystem,” Robinson says. “Through our technology and partners, we are able to help each stakeholder in the retail space—from brands to logistics providers to customers—get a better experience in an increasingly complex and challenging landscape. Our existing partners have been thrilled with the results of our services, and we are very excited to help U.S. retailers achieve the same.”
A recent survey of more than 2,000 shoppers Doddle conducted between Dec. 24-29 found that 30% of consumers find making returns inconvenient. When asked what the primary method was for making their product returns, 39% of respondents take the product back to the retailer’s store, 34% dropped the item off at a shipping carrier location, such a store operated by FedEx Inc. or UPS Inc., and 31% bring the item to a local post office or drop it in a mailbox. Additionally, 56% said e-commerce retailers like Amazon offer a better delivery and returns experience as opposed to traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers.
“Despite the lack of physical shops, Amazon and other e-commerce giants are really making a push to deliver a more personalized, user-friendly experience,” Robinson says. “Returns are a big part of this strategy, and bricks-and-mortar retailers need to look at their own performance in this area to make sure they are putting their best experience forward as well.”
Doddle’s technology, “which has facilitated millions of collections and returns to date,” is available to bricks-and-mortar retailers and online retailers, the company says. While Doddle launched in the U.S. this week, it has yet to sign up a U.S. retailer to use the service. However, it says it is in discussions with several U.S. retailers and will be announcing those in the near future.