Legal: ReturnRunners Inc.
Founder(s): Fara Alexander, Michelle Ciappa, Eric Deinoff
Social Media Following: 538 likes on Facebook, 106 followers on Twitter, 1,400 followers on Instagram
INDUSTRY – Ecommerce Fashion
Size: $481.2 (2018) (Source: “Fashion Industry Apparel Report”)
Projections: $712.9B by 2022
ReturnRunners is exactly what it sounds like — a concierge service for wealthy Chicago residents looking to return unwanted items. The system works using an app which matches you to a local runner who will pick up the item at whichever time and location is most convenient. Once the item has been returned the buyer receives a confirmation receipt, as well as the funds. The runners operate from8am-8pm, seven days a week.
ReturnRunners was created as a luxury service, and therefore comes at a hefty price. ReturnRunners charges $9.99 per return request with an additional $0.99 per extra item. The refund itself is the responsibility of the retailer, who returns it using whichever payment method the item was purchased with in the first place. The service is only offered for a limited number of stores, focusing on large luxury brands such as Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Brookstone, and Saks Fifth Avenue.
The service currently administers to over eighty select stores and hopes to expand. The stores currently covered by ReturnRunners is listed on its website. For stores that are not covered by the app as yet, the customer can request an additional store, but the service is only guaranteed from within the list.
As a luxury white-glove service, ReturnRunner claims to hire top talent, thus justifying its pricing. That means runners go through what the company describes as a “rigorous training process” involving a screening and a training program, all to ensure that customers can return items worth as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars at one time. These runners must operate within and outside business hours, and foster relationships with the clients so they are completely trustworthy. They claim to be expanding currently to U.S. cities outside of Chicago, hoping to bring the app nationwide.
The company also claims that not only does ReturnRunner help in terms of ‘revenue recovery’ (i.e. help rich people remember to return items worth thousands) but also helps streamline the return process for stores, allowing salespeople to focus on sales and not on processing returned items.
Origin and Founding Team
ReturnRunners was founded by Fara Alexander in 2016, who is also the CEO of the company. Her educational background consists of an unspecified B.A. from Indiana University, capital management and tech. Co-founder Michelle Ciappa serves as the platform’s UI designer and illustrator, with an extensive background in design springing from Columbus College in Chicago, and UI design from a number of startups and apparel stores. The third co-founder Eric Deinoff is the head of marketing and communications, deriving his experience from a number of businesses doing everything from consulting to marketing management.
The company recently closed a pre-seed funding round, raising an unspecified amount of capital.
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