1. Shopper & Customer

Interview: Andrew Chan, Co-founder & CMO – AfterShip

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?

Yeah, so my name is Andrew Chan, one of the co founders of AfterShip. I’m also the CMO. I take care of the sales, marketing and also actually look after the product team to ensure the enterprise customers like Dyson or GymShark, when there’s requirements coming in, we meet the expectation.

Okay, and can you introduce AfterShip, for example, tell us what you do for GymShark as an example?

So AfterShip is a shipment tracking platform. We’re also focusing on post purchase experiences. So for example, GymShark is an online retailer, D2C brand, selling on Shopify platform. They’re huge on Instagram. But one thing is about retaining the customers. So after a customer purchases, how do you engage with them?

One of the starting point of this experience is the shipment tracking. The customer buys something, you ship out to the customers as a brand, we take care of the customer side of the tracking experience. We are ensuring the customers can get the visibility of where the shipment is and then also get notified when there is an update. We help brands like GymShark figuring out their on-time delivery rate as well.

You talked about the importance of tracking for customers, can you tell us more about it?

S hipment tracking is not something new, it’s been important for a long time. But, previously, you just sent a tracking number and say “hey customers, by the way, go to the carrier’s website and copy the tracking number”. Then, time flies, and you get Amazon and so many 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, I stay within the portal. So, of course the customer wants it, but it also benefits for merchants. They can reengage the customers, presenting their latest product, etc.

As an example, you have Apple. They put the advertisement in the street, in the corner, even after you buy something. Why? Because you want the customer to see more, to remember more after the purchase. This fills brand awareness purposes: “we take care of you, it’s important.”

Also, we got some premium French or Spanish customers as well. They need a premium feeling. So I think it’s very crucial to remember the brand after the 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?

Yeah, 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 first understanding how much you are committing, especially for transportation.

And for that we can help to measure your carbon emissions, also help you to offset those 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 give 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?

All the management systems like Shopify, we also support Magento, BigCommerce, Salesforce, even SAP, those kind of more enterprise systems, we all support them. This is because we have work with APIs and work with 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 6 months ago. Our priorities are customer satisfaction, product requirements and solving problems. Building the best tool for our customers is very crucial.

You also offer automation tools. Can you tell us more about them?

Sure, yeah, I think the automation tool for tracking, and the return one, are good to notify your internal team if something happens with the delivery. Then, you might need to notify customers with a certain 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 send the customer the address to which to return the product, and the customer can proceed. Now it’s a self service return. So the automation has to go to the customer as well.

All the returns can be handled by customers directly: print out the label or just go to return point, click and then return. 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, this is not a problem.

The same is true for OMS. Indeed, we mentioned that we could integrate various systems, which are used all over the world, which 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 such as 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 push the marketing.

In any way, we are delighted to be present at this event.

View Original Article
Do you like Ecommerce Nation's articles? Follow on social!