On-demand shipping startup Shyp is introducing a new key feature to its iOS and Android app today with the launch of Shyp Returns, a dedicated interface for returning stuff you buy online without stopping at the post office or UPS.
For months, Shyp noticed that a small but growing percentage of customers used the app to return items they purchased online, printing out prepaid labels and including them with parcels.
In a briefing earlier this week, Shyp CEO Kevin Gibbon explained how the startup hopes it can encourage that behavior by providing a more straightforward process. From the very first step of sending something, you can specify that it’s a return. If you have the order number, it can figure out which warehouse to get it to and arrange shipping. If you’ve already printed the prepaid label, your bike courier or driver will also get an alert to remind you to include it before they leave with your item.
Shyp doesn’t need tight integration with each retailer’s system in order to get the information that your confirmation number relates to in their databases. Instead of negotiating with a couple of retailers for a smaller launch, they were able to base the featured merchants on the returns they’ve already been handling.
That’s awesome for quickly making this feel like a broadly useful utility, but the ultimate end-game for this feature is to actually work out some level of cooperation with those companies.
Something along the lines of “Returns powered by Shyp” could one day serve as a recognizable stamp that instantly translates to “I can treat this retailer like Zappos or Warby Parker because sending back anything will be easy.” That’s essentially the experience you already get from the app, if you’re willing to pay the $5 fee (a flat rate, even with multiple items).
But what if you could log in with an Amazon account in the app, pick out items recently ordered to send back, and not pay Shyp’s fee because Amazon was willing to pick up the tab as part of Prime? Knowing that not liking something you buy won’t result in it sitting in a drawer forever or require a trip to FedEx might encourage buying more goods overall.