On June 8 and 9, 2022, Deliver Event took place in Amsterdam. This event gave us the opportunity to meet and exchange with logistics solutions from all over the world.
In this context, I had the opportunity to exchange with Andrew Chan, co-founder and CMO at AfterShip. The company, now based in Hong-Kong, had its first event. We were able to discuss various topics, such as process automation, returns and the integration possibilities of the solution:
Can you introduce yourself and your background please?
My name is Andrew Chan. I’m one of the co-founders of AfterShip. I’m also the CMO. I take care of the sales and marketing and look after the product team to ensure we meet the expectations of enterprise customers like Dyson or GymShark.
Okay, and can you introduce AfterShip, for example, tell us what you do for GymShark as an example?
AfterShip is a shipment tracking platform. We also focus on post purchase experiences. For example, GymShark is an online retailer, a D2C brand, selling on the Shopify platform. They’re huge on Instagram. But one challenge for all brands is retaining customers. After a customer purchases, how does the brand engage with them?
One of the starting points of this experience is the shipment tracking. The customer buys something, the brand ships out to the customers, and AfterShip takes care of the customer side of the tracking experience. We are ensuring the customers can see where the shipment is and get notified when there is an update. We help brands like GymShark figure out their on-time delivery rate, as well.
You talked about the importance of tracking for customers, can you tell us more about it?
Shipment tracking is not something new; it’s been important for a long time. But, previously, brands sent a tracking number and told their customers to go to the carrier’s website and copy the tracking number. Fast forward to now, and you have Amazon and many other brands doing it in a really great way.
Customers are looking for a seamless experience with the brand. When I buy something, I track something, and I stay within the portal. So, of course the customer wants it, but it also benefits merchants. They can re-engage their customers by presenting their latest product, for example.
Another example is Apple. They put the advertisement in the street, in the corner, even after you buy something. Why? Because they want the customer to see more, to remember more after the purchase. This helps brand awareness: “We take care of you. It’s important.”
Also, we have several premium French and Spanish customers. They need a premium feeling. So I think it’s crucial for shoppers to remember the brand after their purchase.
You talked about green logistics in one of your eBooks recently I saw on your website, do you think this trend is just pure communication or do you think this will develop in the near future?
I think we are heading there. Everyone’s talking about carbon emissions, especially in the US. There will be new laws coming out. So, it’s about understanding how much you are emitting, especially for transportation.
AfterShip can help to measure your carbon emissions, help to offset them and communicate to the customers that we are doing so. We are a responsible brand.
Of course, we know that green is important, but it has to provide incentives for businesses. Why do they have to do it? If you do it, customers will like you more.
You mentioned GymShark, which operates on Shopify. What other platforms can AfterShip be integrated with?
AfterShip can be integrated with all the management systems like Shopify. We also support Magento, BigCommerce, Salesforce and even SAP and similar enterprise systems. This is because we have worked with APIs and lots of engineers.
There is one point of differentiation between AfterShip and other solutions. We have over 400 employees, and 70% of them are engineers and product people. We established the sales and marketing teams only six months ago. Our priorities are customer satisfaction, product requirements and solving problems. Building the best tool for our customers is critical.
You also offer automation tools. Can you tell us more about them?
The automation tool for tracking and the return tool are helpful when you need to notify your internal team if something happens with the delivery. Then, you might need to notify customers with a specific message. So the automation right now is based around the notification.
And the other thing that we call the automation is related to the return. The return process involves the consumer contacting the merchant. The merchant will let the customer know where to return the product, and the customer can proceed. Now it’s a self service return. So the automation has to extend to the customer, as well.
All returns can be handled by customers directly: print out the label or just go to the return point, click and then return. There is no need to arrange an exchange or call. No questions asked – just like the return process at Amazon.
So, for example, if the value of the return is low, the automation will allow me to automatically approve the return. If the value is higher, I will have to do a manual check with some questions. We can set up rules for that.
Have you observed any specifications between markets? Is it a problem for you to adjust to these?
I think the adjustments to be made are in relation to the carriers. We integrate 980 carriers worldwide with AfterShip and have done so for 10 years. Integration is in our blood now.
The same is true for OMS. Indeed, we mentioned that we could integrate various systems, which are used all over the world. It does not impact our processes much.
Finally, consumer behaviors are similar regardless of the market. Do they want to buy something? They buy it, they receive it. If they like it, they keep it. If they don’t like it, they send it back.
The only “barrier” we could mention is language. Our platform supports various languages, which is crucial for global brands like GymShark. It is important for us to integrate this into our services.
We are exchanging in the context of the Deliver Event in Amsterdam. Is this your first participation?
Deliver is the very first event in the life of the brand. But we’re going to do more as well as increase our marketing initiatives.
We are delighted to be present at this event.