Tiny Library allows first-time parents to rent customized circular products. In doing so, they’re hoping to encourage manufacturers to extend the lifespan of their products and reuse raw materials in the best possible way.
Tiny Library customers rate the returns process a 9
About Tiny Library
With the birth of her first child, Julie Munneke Came to the realisation that First-time parents need an incredible amount of stuff for a relatively short period of time. She quickly realized that this could be done more sustainably, consciously and easily.
This insight formed the basis for the creation of Tiny Library: a rental platform where parents can rent baby and children's products for a fixed amount per month. Customers only pay for the period that they use a product. Afterwards, they return the product or have it picked up.
This circular rental model is catching on in the market. It is especially popular among the younger target group (Generation Z) where owning things has made way for borrowing or renting them. This generation is more aware of society and the choices they make.
Tiny Library, with their circular concept, is actively contributing to this mindset shift. This does, however, come with one big challenge, being that customers seem to find the returning process rather difficult. Namely, that people seem to find returning items rather difficult. For this reason, Munneke started talking with Returnista.
The challenge of reverse logistics and product design
Currently, 7 employees work at Tiny Library. Julie’s goal, however, is to become the largest circular platform in Europe. And to achieve this goal she has some problems to tackle.
Munneke: "Our biggest challenge is to make our products a (better) fit to our model. Products are now generally designed to be bought, and to end up in the trash after use. I envision us eventually working towards a different design of products."
To achieve this, Julie is in frequent dialogue with partners: "Our products are assembled and taken apart much more frequently. They are also shipped and returned more frequently. So in this context, it is preferred to work with products that can be packaged and shipped easily, without loose screws or parts."
"We would prefer that future products are designed in such a manner that they can be put together, taken apart and shipped up until ten times."
Another major challenge is the shipping and returns process. In our current society returning, recalling or refurbishing products is more an exception to the rule. At Tiny Library, returning and refurbishing products is part of the business model.
Munneke: "It’s strange that the process of sending a product to customers is easily understood, but the process of returning still seems to be new. We get a lot of questions about this."
Tiny Library's returns process: from difficult to schedule to customer incharge
The central role that returns play in Tiny Library's circular business model also means that the returns process must function optimally.
Munneke: "Initially we had people fill out a form on the website. We then had to enter the addresses manually, create labels and send them out. A lot of time went into that."
But this return system also left something to be desired in terms of logistics. Munneke explains: "Customers had the option of getting rented products picked up but this needed to be scheduled. It became difficult when people were not at home and we needed to reschedule. We wanted the customer to be in charge of this process and started looking for a different solution."
That's how the Tiny Library team ended up with Returnista's returns platform. Munneke: "To allow our customers to be in charge, we were looking for easier ways for them to request returns and handle pick-ups with the carriers."
"In addition, we were looking for a platform that was easy to link with Shopify and had options to expand. With Returnista, we were able to get insight into where a product was in the returns process. Because in our case, there were additional steps in the process (such as cleaning the products before reusing them), we built an additional dashboard ourselves to give us that insight."
The results: significant increase in customer satisfaction and savings in customer service
With the implementation of Returnista, the returns process now runs much more smoothly: "Previously, picking up products from the customer's premises often went wrong, because we were working with large carriers who didn't really understand what needed to be done. Now Returnista picks that up for us, and the process runs much more smoothly."
Apart from collection, it is now also much easier to register the products to be returned. Munneke: "We used to work with a software company that generated labels for us, which we then had printed out in the warehouse. This implied an enormous amount of manual work. With Returnista, Paper labels are a thing of the past and customers now manage the registration themselves, online."
"By working together, we now save 30% time on customer questions about how to register a package, or complaints about picking it up."
"In particular, the option to have it picked up at home is Is received well. Partly because of this, customer satisfaction has risen up to a 9."
Julie Munneke and the staff at Tiny Library are very pleased that they are saving time and have more satisfied customers because of a smooth returns process. "The returns process has been taken out of our hands, including customer contact and physical handling. This allows us to fully focus on our mission again: to take care of pregnant women and men with our rental platform, and at the same time accelerate together towards a more sustainable world."
October 28, 2022
Michaela - Netherlands
Exchanging, packing and returning my stuff was so quick!
Peter - Netherlands
Everything was simple and absolutely perfect!
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