1. What’s your name and title, what do you do day-to-day in 20 words or fewer?

Chris Emberson: As UK Country Lead, my role is broad. We’re defining a new category so expanding partnerships, meeting merchants, events etc

2. At Reveni you help with customer returns and exchanges. Can you give us a success story for a D2C brand you’ve worked with? Eg what was the problem? what did you do? what were the results?

Especially with refunds. They activated Reveni to better manage the returns process, primarily using instant refunds to ensure an exceptional customer experience. The impact was very fast and repurchasing jumped from existing customers as well as organic growth supporting new acquisitions also.

3. You specialise in returns and exchanges that enhance customer loyalty – what piece of advice would you give to DTC brands who want customers who want refunds to come back again?

For me, DTC brands need to do two things, ensure that if a return is really unavoidable that they make sure it’s the best possible customer experience when it comes to the refund process which gives the brand every opportunity to influence what happens next. The best possible customer experience but critically ensure that through an instant refund that the customer repurchases with them, ideally straight away. An instant refund can also be used very effectively for those without an exchange offer.

The second thing is to do everything they can to shift a return mindset into an exchange or store credit. Let’s face it, the motivation of consumers to do either is lower than ever and unless they’re 100% certain about the item they’ll just return it. Through an instant exchange, customers’ wait times are reduced from potentially 3-4 weeks to 1-3 days, shifting the mindset away from a return and into an exchange ensuring cash stays within the brand. The impact if this were to lower their returns rate by even 1% overall is huge.

4. What do you think the biggest challenges facing eCommerce/D2C businesses will be over the next 12-18 months?

At a high level, it’s obvious to say but clearly, the main one for most is the P&L. As part of this; customer loyalty, CACs and risk. The post-purchase experience has been mostly neglected to date but customers’ decisions to buy are becoming increasingly impacted by returns policies.

There are quotes that 90% of customers now check the policy before purchasing so it needs to be supportive to the customer to maintain their interest and conversion.
Loyalty and retention are two of the most important factors to ride out the current climate. With CACs spiralling, organic growth through excellent customer experience is more achievable now than ever. The majority of brands want to do this but it opens risk, at Reveni we cover all the financial risk associated with a return so for many it’s a no-brainer.

5. Complete this sentence – DTC brands that survive and thrive in 2023 will …

be the ones who are able to do more with less. We know the negative impact of headcount freezes and higher costs in the industry so putting the right processes in place now that create new revenue (and protect existing), reduce risk and open up significant efficiencies is critical.

Cash is king so ways in which to better control or maximise without significant cost is key. Complex implementations can be saved for other business critical areas but smart conversion decisions (such as Reveni) that are low cost and easy to activate that drive all of the above metrics allow brands to overachieve.

6. Name three D2C brands that are killing it and whom you recommend others to emulate/learn from.

Non-Reveni customer recommendations:
Lociwear – I think this is a brand set for great things. Balancing sustainability and fashion isn’t always easy but I think they do it very well and at a price point that doesn’t alienate large customer segments.

Beyond Retro – always been a favourite of mine having lived around the corner from the flagship store. I think they’re showing how powerful a well-executed site and marketing strategy can enhance a brand’s perception but keep the core values in place.

Finisterre – Aside from the fact I love surfing (can’t do it…) I think they do a fantastic job of creating a site that aligns very closely with the brand’s origins and storytelling. They have fantastic products, but the site experience feels like an experience, not just a store.