Can making deliveries once a week make e-commerce sustainable and more profitable?
A co-founder of Jet.com has launched a delivery platform, Olive, that consolidates retailers’ orders into weekly deliveries to bring sustainability along with some convenience to online selling.
“Olive’s journey began with the realization that today’s e-commerce delivery experience is both incredibly painful and a major growing environmental concern,” writes the platform’s founder Nate Faust on his company’s website. “One evening, after breaking down a week’s worth of delivery boxes and dragging them outside, I looked around and realized that everyone’s trash situation was identical: overflowing with cardboard. It is unbelievable that we have been shopping online for over 25 years and we receive our purchases in single-use cardboard boxes filled with plastic air bubbles.”
Consumers can create a free Olive account and use the Olive mobile app or add a Chrome extension to their web browser. They then shop at any Olive retail partner, which sends the purchased items to Olive’s consolidation facility to be bundled for the weekly drop. The consolidated deliveries arrive on a predetermined day during the week. Olive packages the orders in reusable totes made from recyclable materials.
Olive has arrangements with about a hundred retailers largely in the apparel space, including Anthropologie, Everlane, Hugo Boss and Saks.
Consumers benefit from the convenience of a free service that eliminates the chore of recycling or throwing out packaging. Returns are also simplified since they can send back unwanted items in the reusable tote.
Sustainability advocates can feel good about reducing waste. The startup notes that doubling the number of items in a delivery reduces per-item carbon footprint by 30 percent as a result of fewer trips made by the mail carrier. Olive is working closely with retail partners to reduce packaging heading to consolidation facilities to fulfill a longer-term goal of eliminating single-use packaging within e-commerce.
Retailers pay an average of a 10 percent commission on every sale as Olive helps them reach sustainability goals. Mr. Faust told TechCrunch, “If any single retailer were to try to tackle this problem right now on their own, they would run up into a huge cost increase to pay for this more expensive packaging and this two-way shipping.”
- Jet co-founder Nate Faust is building a more sustainable e-commerce experience with Olive – TechCrunch
- This Ex-Walmart Exec Wants To Take Cardboard Boxes Out Of Online Shopping – Forbes
- ‘Waste-free delivery and easy returns’: Olive wants to solve the pain points of buying fashion online – Glossy
- Two-day shipping is terrible for the environment. This startup wants to make it a thing of the past – Fast Company
- Olive, New E-commerce Platform, Consolidates Packages Into Weekly Delivery – WWD
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What about Olive’s value proposition do you think consumers and retailers will find most compelling and less so? Do you think most consumers will accept the weekly schedule in exchange for cardboard-free deliveries, easy returns and the sustainability benefit?