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A Touch Too Much: Reducing Damage Claims and Returns on Furniture Deliveries

In today’s booming online furniture market, an antique cabinet or sectional sofa can get handled and passed around between six and eight times, by multiple logistics providers, between origin and destination as part of the consolidation process, and can too often result in damage claims.

This not only slows transit times but, more importantly, it increases property damage liability risk with every transfer between logistics companies, be they first mile, middle mile, long haul, final mile transporters, or intermediaries. And don’t forget distribution center handling either.

So, what may be a priceless family heirloom or a perfect L-shaped couch for a couple’s first home is simply a commodity to legacy transport companies. After all, with all those touches, tracking where property damage may have occurred while the item was en route can be next to impossible. What are ya gonna do about it, right?

The numbers don’t lie. Furniture sellers we’ve talked to say their property damage claims can reach rates of up to 6 percent. In another survey, 20 percent of customers say they’ve had an oversized delivery arrived damaged, and 15 percent say items didn’t arrive at all.

Fewer Touches. Fewer Damage Claims.

At uShip, we have a different take. Instead of 6-8 touches by a legacy transporter, an item stays with the same feedback-rated transporter from start to finish. It’s something we call first-to-final mile transport. A carrier from our transporter network picks up and blanket wraps a piece of furniture at the origin and then travels the distance to the destination to make a room-of-choice delivery. They may pick up and drop off other shipments along the way, but that item is with them the entire time.

While this dramatically speeds up delivery — for example, some partners seeing 65 percent reduction in transit times (from 4-6 weeks to 1-2 weeks) and 80 percent of deliveries are made within two weeks of booking — the damage claim rate is what’s grabbing headlines here.

Minimize Your Claim Rate

With the uShip In-Home Delivery program, online retailers experience an incredibly low damage claim rate. When compared to the 6 percent reported in our original legacy transporter scenario, this is pretty jaw-dropping. In short, few touches means fewer claims.

But let’s not forget that this is logistics. It’s unpredictable. Accidents and damages do happen. The trick to effectively manage these exceptions is to have the infrastructure and processes in place to minimize the impact on both sellers and customers when things don’t quite go as expected. In the world of freight, boring is good.

Built-In Backstop

To that end, uShip offers a killer insurance package that sellers can offer their buyers. Either they can include property damage insurance in the shipping cost or offer it as an add-on during the shipping checkout process. Backed by Lloyd’s of London, (add insurance info here)

So how does all this help returns, or “reverse logistics” in logistics parlance? It’s a very real problem that keeps a lot of online sellers up at night.

On uShip, we’re addressing it by offering fast, one-touch furniture transit through quality, first-to-final mile carriers, all backed by solid insurance, knowledgeable managed services, and fast-acting customer support to handle those nagging exceptions. This keeps return rates exceptionally low, thus creating loyal customers and keeping sellers costs down.

We encourage you to take a look at uShip’s In-Home Delivery solution, whether you’re an emerging online furniture seller or a larger marketplace for oversized goods. Our partners run the gambit. Let’s talk.