When was the last time you returned something that you bought online? For most US consumers, it was probably very recently. Consumers are so accustomed to returns being free and easy that the majority of online shoppers now buy items that they expect to return.
As a result, of the $1.3T in online purchases made in 2022, over $200B in merchandise was returned, with returns volumes increasing ~5x since 2019. The supply chain is struggling under the strain of these returns and the impacts are staggering. In 2022, merchants spent hundreds of billions on returns, logistics providers spent millions of hours on return processing, and the planet suffered as over 10 billion pounds of returns were discarded in landfills.
When it comes to returns, we firmly believe that we are still in the early innings, with online sales currently accounting for ~20% of US retail. Further, we argue that the first wave of supply chain technology innovation has almost entirely focused on forward logistics applications, while neglecting the increasing pain caused by returns.
Our supply chain is severely lacking technology to address returns and increasingly complex reverse logistics needs and we believe these challenges will only accelerate as consumer preferences evolve towards more sustainable purchasing practices, brands and retailers face rising capital costs, and supply chains reorganize to mitigate many of the disruptions faced during the pandemic.
Evan and I are fortunate to have had a front row seat to technology-led supply chain innovation at companies like BMW and Flexport. When we met at a previous company, we instantly bonded over our shared passions for technology, supply chain, and sustainability (we also really like The Office if we’re being honest). With our shared experiences building enterprise technology products in the automotive and logistics sectors, we decided to tackle the challenge of returns.
In early 2022, we went deep on the existing e-commerce returns ecosystem and learned that the status quo of return logistics is unintelligent, time consuming, and expensive. These inefficiencies cause customers to have poor returns experiences, brands to lose money, warehouses to overflow with returns, and most importantly, our planet to be harmed with unnecessary inventory waste and return transportation emissions.
At Two Boxes our mission is to enable returns to be an asset instead of a liability. Our suite of return processing technology is purpose-built to increase efficiency, improve back-to-stock times, and enable sophisticated return prioritization and visibility. This allows for enhanced return capabilities, while tracking and surfacing critical data for both logistics providers and brands. Our customers can take charge of their returns process to optimize their profit margins, serve customers better, and improve sustainability.
We are excited to share that our return processing software has already been deployed across multiple e-commerce brands and logistics providers. Initial results after processing 10k+ units across several brands have demonstrated the ability to increase warehouse efficiency for our customers by over 100%, while enabling critical data capture, visibility, and communication improvements for brands and 3PLs. With our funding, we will expand our team so that we can continue developing our product offering and enter new markets across North America.
We are incredibly grateful for the support of our investors who have believed in us at the earliest stages of this journey. A huge thank you to Vinyl, who led our seed round, with participation from numerous other investors including Matchstick Ventures, Range Ventures, and The House Fund. Another big thank you to our angel investors who are some of today’s leading supply chain and e-commerce founders, operators, and investors, including Nerijus Poskus, Oren Zaslansky, Kyle Hency, Paul Hedrick, Ben Zises, and Robert Nathan.
We’re also proud and humbled to announce the formation of an advisory board made up of operators and founders with deep experience building some of the most successful names in e-commerce. A big thank you to Libby Johnson McKee, Maia Benson, Kyle Hency, James Marks, Matt Hertz, and Aaron Schwartz.
If you’re passionate about our vision and looking to solve a problem that matters, we’d love to work with you. You can learn more about our company and open roles here.
Finally, if you’re a brand or 3PL interested in making returns an asset instead of a liability, please sign up for early access.
We can’t finish without thanking our incredible team who have accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. We cannot thank you enough for your belief in and contributions to Two Boxes.
— Kyle Bertin and Evan Stalter, co-founders of Two Boxes