Olive wants to eliminate all the boxing and unboxing that comes with shopping online.
Olive was launched on Wednesday as a cardboard delivery box alternative for fashion shoppers looking for convenience and durability. For members who download the Chrome app or extension, the company compiles their fashion purchases from retailers into a single bag, or shipper, to be delivered at a chosen rate. The tote is then picked up or used to make returns through the shopper’s doorstep. To date, Olive has secured hundreds of brands and retail partners including Everlane, Revolve, and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Olive is the brainchild of Nate Faust, who founded Jet.com before selling the company to Walmart in 2016. The ability to buy and return products without having to manage boxes and run around the office, he says. post will be the draw for out-of-door customers. But for brands and retailers, sustainability has been key to securing partnerships.
It’s crazy that we’re 25 years in e-commerce, with all of that growth yet to come, and the status quo delivery experience still represents billions of shipments per year sent in one-way, one-way packaging. unique, he said. Not only is this a terrible thing for the environment, it is also a huge problem for customers.
The amount of waste in the form of packaging has become evident since March 2020, when one buys almost anything that is moved online. In turn, brands and retailers have increasingly embarked on efforts to turn things around and stay in the good graces of conscious consumers. The initiatives included the publication of new sustainability goals with plans to rationalize packaging and introduce packing options, like profitable and rechargeable containers. Linked with third party partners task-focused is common in getting things done. Brands are under a microscope, and when it comes to proving that they work to consumers, time is running out.
According to Mary Beech, CEO of brand partner Olive Sarah Flint, the platform delivers added value to consumers that aligns with the brand’s overall sustainability goals. Sarah Flint has developed a roadmap to dramatically improve our environmental impact, she said. Olive complements this roadmap as it offers customers the opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint.
Likewise, Cate Khan, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Verishop, highlighted the benefits of the Olive partnership for clients. “We know that many of our users are looking for shopping experiences that align with their personal values, including environmental awareness and sustainability,” she said.
Clothing rental services Rent the track and Nuuly provided a proof of concept for the delivery tote model, although insiders from both companies commented on the complexities of the logistics involved.
With Olive, there are no additional costs for retailers. And, as Faust said, any brand wanting to go it alone, in terms of providing a similar service, would only double the cost of their logistics. After all, Olive pays for both the delivery and the pickup of its packaging.
Olive is also free to consumers, in that there is no surcharge on the brands’ usual shipping costs. Olive earns money by taking a portion of each sale delivered through Olive. On average, this reduction is 10%.
Faust said he started planning the launch of Olive in March 2020, and he first hired a product management manager in April. Olive is now a 13-person team and is largely made up of former Fausts teammates from Diapers.com, Jet.com and Walmart. They include the heads of marketing, finance and technology, as well as heads of three separate product teams: Retail Operations, Partnerships and Integrations, and Consumer Experience.
To promote the company at the launch, Faust said Olive relied on traditional digital acquisition marketing through YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, as well as direct mail and outdoor advertising in major urban markets. It also relies heavily on its partner brands to spread the word to their customers. With a lot, he sends joint marketing emails to brand clients in olive markets.
Currently, Olive has two consolidation centers in Southern California and Northern New Jersey, which allows it to serve approximately one-third of the U.S. population. Because brands still use traditional packaging when shipping products to consolidation centers, Faust said true packaging disposal will not be possible until Olive is scaled up. Eventually, when there is sufficient volume from a single retailer, Olive will provide them with free bags and feed them into their shipping system.
For clients, Olive works with the post office in peri-urban areas and carriers in urban areas. For the prior, a local courier can pick up a tote at the door as soon as a day after a request is made by a customer through the Olive app. In urban areas, there are set days of the week that carriers will pick up and deliver the bins to the customers’ building.
Faust said beyond removing packaging, Olive is reducing the number of last mile delivery stops to people, as well as all those truck miles. More retailers using Olive would lead to a release of last mile delivery capacity and the risk of shipments bottlenecks, as experienced during the holidays, would be much less, he said.
Faust had self-funded Olive until the company closed its first fundraiser in December. It now has three main institutional investors, including Primary Venture Partners, based in New York, and SignalFire, located in San Francisco.
Currently, the company is developing unique packaging for fragile beauty products, as many of its partner brands sell skin care and cosmetics, and there are opportunities in the space. As with its fashion packaging, Olive strives to ensure that every item is 100% recyclable.
In a few months, Olive plans to introduce a consignment and re-commerce focused product that makes it easier for consumers to use. And, later, customers may be able to use Olive to have all of their holiday gifts delivered at once and wrapped, Faust said.
Fashion, he says, is just the starting point.
We have a long-term vision to bring that experience of zero waste delivery and easy returns to anything you buy online, Faust said.
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