What is Route?
Route is a free for merchants shipping insurance app with built in visual package tracking, kind of like Uber, for your packages, and of course the updates are more like checkins at warehouses, like you’re used to seeing as text updates on other tracking pages, you’re not actually seeing the truck take a left turn on some street.
And this tool works across multiple merchants, not just for your store, but for any store the customer shops with online and uses Route. So they can be tracking your package alongside something else they purchased from someone else.
Route is really slick for merchants because it is an optional purchase for the user, which they find over 55% will opt-in, and then if there is any sort of issue with the package, its damaged, someone steals it from their doorstep, whatever, then Route makes the refund or claims process super easy for the user, and you don’t get bogged down with any customer service issues.
How Will Route Work With My Ecommerce Store?
What makes Route different than competitors?
Route is unique in that after a user buys the Route insurance, they go through Route’s own sign up process and become a Route user. They download an app and setup all their shipping information with Route. If they purchase from another company who uses Route, Route already has their info. In that way, Route has a sort of network effect, as more people use it, you will see the percentage of insurance purchase go up, I believe.
And the obvious differentiator is that they’ve combined the visual tracking experience with the insurance component. Clearly they are focused more on customer experience, driving more value to the end user. And it's a very easy install into any Shopify store.
What metrics is Route going to improve for my Ecommerce store?
With an average optin rate of 55% Route will become a major part of your product offerings. The biggest value add for businesses is how much Route cuts down on returns and restocking costs. Route will fully reimburse store owners for lost or damaged items allowing you to reship brand new items without having a negative impact on your cash flow. Imagine you have a 1% lost or damage replacement rate, which is essentially 1% revenue shrinkage on your overall margin. With Route about half of those will buy insurance and you will actually gain a new sale instead of losing an additional product. That’s not just a 50% reduction in shrinkage, but also an equivocal boost to sales, because Route is actually buying products from your store, so you essentially lose all lost or damage shrinkage in your business, your results may vary slightly, but you get the picture.
Route is helping customers achieve a higher level of customer experience, which builds your brand relationship with them, and I know you may be thinking that they are building the relationship with Route, but I see it as both, you gave the user access to Route ,which is a great way for everyone to work together for a better customer experience. This increases the customer confidence in your brand while decreasing the cost of customer service on your margins.
Who has to manage Route and how long does it take to setup?
If you are Shopify Plus, you can add a checkout integration, which can be done by you or the Route team. It’s a single line of div, not tough to do. The Route team would add it to a sandbox version, you can test it, then push live. It’s 15 minutes of work for any developer.
If you’re Shopify only, or another platform, it's as simple as installing the app and then setting your preferences on the back end, which is mainly just deciding between 3 options: if users will be auto-opt in vs auto-opt out, or if you want to pay for the insurance yourself, which I typically don’t recommend. The go to is to opt them in automatically, they will be able to easily see the insurance added and can one click remove it from their cart if they don’t want it.
Now, there are some outlying circumstances where you have to communicate with the Route team on out of stock items, discount repurchasing, and a few other reconciliations you may need to handle with them, but that is still significantly lower amount of time than the customer service inquiries you are no longer handling.
When should you use Route?
Really you can use this at any stage of your business, but it's going to be increasingly valuable for merchants who are currently being bogged down with a lot of returns or replacement orders. It’s also extremely important when you’re threading the needle on your own margin, because reducing customer service costs will give you a little more breathing room.
When shouldn't you use Route?
If you sell Rolexes or other high ticket items on the regular, you might want to opt for a more traditional shipping insurance provider. If your average order value is $4,000+ and especially if you’re doing low volume, Route can’t actually ensure you.