First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Tobias Buxhoidt: Overall, we are quite well and feel lucky to be healthy and happy at home. We just had a newborn, so it is great to spend so much time together. Normally, my travel schedule is busy, and I feel grateful to have had extra time at home with my family. I also feel fortunate that parcelLab is doing well with the growth we see in e-commerce this year as consumers shift to online shopping.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded parcelLab.
Tobias Buxhoidt: I grew up working in my family’s second-generation logistics company and have always had an interest in logistics. This led me to a logistics consulting position after I graduated from college. The problem I kept coming up against during my time working in this field was how bad the end-customer experience was across all the companies I was working with, both big and small. I was determined to fix this issue, and that’s why I started my current company, parcelLab, where we ensure that every customer has the best experience by helping companies implement or expand their customer experience and retention strategies.
How does parcelLab innovate?
Tobias Buxhoidt: Innovation is in our DNA. When we started parcelLab, most people told us that our solution had no value since carriers such as UPS handled customer communication during the delivery process. Now, especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, every retailer wants to control and improve their post-purchase customer experience and truly sees the value that our innovative customer experience platform delivers.
We’re currently working on our digital returns experience, which helps retailers optimize their return process and benefits, online shoppers in various ways. They get a consistent and seamless experience when returning items, know exactly where their package is, and receive updates via their preferred communication channels throughout the entire journey. The return process is not only faster and easier for consumers but as it will be paperless, it’s also far more sustainable for the environment.
We’re excited to see the impact this new experience will have on consumers and their shopping behavior, how retailers think about the entire operations experience, and on the industry at large.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your business, and how are you coping?
Tobias Buxhoidt: E-commerce has seen ten years of growth in the first three months of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been incredibly fortunate to be busier than ever. With the pandemic forcing the closure of physical stores, retailers have realized that their e-commerce business keeps them afloat and moves their focus to the digital side. They understand the need to communicate with their customers post-sales—improving the experience after the purchase increases revenue, customer engagement, and loyalty and reduces inquiries for customer support teams.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Tobias Buxhoidt: I’ve had to make a lot of difficult choices as we’ve been growing the business. While they always seem daunting at the moment, looking back, I am grateful for what I have learned from them. For example, a couple of years ago, we had to let go of a high-value opportunity to build a benchmark feature for one of our customers to ensure we remain focused on our core value proposition. Although it hurt us in the short term, it set us up for success in the long run by having a clear focus on creating the best post-sale customer experience.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and parcelLab in the future?
Tobias Buxhoidt: I am completely focused on my company and its growth, and I don’t see the work I do as stressful. I actually like working with high intensity at times and try not to focus on work-life balance, which may seem counterintuitive. But my work is my life, and I enjoy it—I don’t see it as a burden or something that can burn me out.
In the future, we see our solution evolve to serve the entire operations experience, meaning communication about repairs in addition to our delivery and returns experiences.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Tobias Buxhoidt: A handful of solution providers work in our space, but none offer a complete and personalized solution like ours. We are fully customizable and white-labeled, which brings more comfort, ease, and enjoyment to consumers all over the world.
Your final thoughts?
Tobias Buxhoidt: I can’t stress enough how important it is for retailers and brands to invest in their customer experience. We see consumers moving away from brand loyalty towards experience loyalty. To stay competitive and be successful, retailers and brands need to offer a best-in-class experience that goes way beyond their competitors and traditional engagement strategies.