Hey, Idries and Luke here. Here’s a little behind-the-scenes for you more curious ones ...
In 2021, we launched an iPhone app called Mule. The app helped micro e-commerce sellers compare discounted courier rates. You typed in your parcel’s weight and dimensions and could buy shipping labels from various different couriers like UPS and DHL. We collated all the volume from our customers and got better rates then going direct.
We rode the covid bubble - tens of thousands of people used the app to send things to their customers on eBay and Depop. Growth was good and money was raised.
However, we hit a growth ceiling in 2022. To compete with incumbents, our margins were razor thin. Losing money each month, we realised there wasn’t enough growth in the product to ever make a profit.
After 2 years of pushing the rock up the hill, we made the hard choice to shut the app down in September '22.
However, all hope was not lost. There was one part of the product people really liked: shipping protection. In fact, our customer service and protection policies were the often the main reason people used our product.
We decided to go deeper on shipping protection. Speaking to every consumer we could find, we found out many get worried about their items going (1 in 3 to be precise). Many had lost money from parcels being stolen. Even more chose not to buy from stores if they were unsure about the delivery service.
Merchants had similar problems. They complained about poor service quality and frequent reships. Sloppy drivers leaving parcels in rubbish bins was surprisingly common.
After many brainstorms, prototypes, user research sessions, and just talking to as many people as physically possible, we landed on ProtectMyOrder. Our goal was to give consumers more security with their online shopping whilst helping merchants with the arduous and expensive shipping process.
We launched the product in June 2023. There has been a 30-60% opt-in rate since launch across all of our merchants. It's an excellent validation that extra protection and premium care is something consumers are willing to pay for. And merchants are more than happy to provide that service, whilst creating a new revenue stream.
It’s going to be interesting to see how far we can take this.
Any comments or questions, please email us or find us on Linkedin
All the best,
Luke & Idries
P.S. if I had to sum up everything we've learnt in one pithy video, it would be King George VI's advice to Churchill in this clip
from Darkest Hour