Fueling the sustainable e-commerce revolution
Turnr pioneers customer-to-customer returns and one-click exchanges
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E-commerce has brought convenient fashion shopping experiences to people’s homes, allowing customers to order and return items when it suits them. But it also produces eye-watering quantities of waste, with millions of tons of goods sent to landfill and millions of metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions generated each year. There had to be a better way—and so innovative startup Turnr was born.

Linus Robertsson, Founder and CEO of Turnr, explains: “E-commerce returns have long been a headache for fashion retailers and sustainable shoppers alike.  Most people return an item because it’s the wrong size, and then can’t be bothered to place a new order for the correct size. That means the return ends in a refund, which results in both the store and the customer losing out. We realized that by incentivizing the shopper to exchange rather than return, we could reverse this trend.”

At the same time, Turnr saw an opportunity to capitalize on the model established by the customer-to-customer (C2C) secondhand marketplace to enable more sustainable returns. Robertsson elaborates: “Even if you’re buying a sweater in a store, you know it’s likely that someone tried it on before you. So, why not redirect returns directly to new shoppers rather than sending them thousands of miles to and from warehouses to be repacked?”

Turnr’s vision for a new platform for fashion e-commerce returns was rapidly taking shape, but the innovative startup wanted help bringing it to life. To deliver the exceptional customer experiences and shopper insights that would be an essential to make the concept a success, the startup needed the right technology foundation.

“As we dived deeper into how we wanted Turnr to work, we identified new opportunities to provide value to shoppers and retailers alike,” says Robertsson. “For example, we developed the idea of a ‘reverse discount’ where shoppers would get more than the value of their original purchase if they opted for store credit over a cash refund. We aimed to extract insights on consumer behavior for retailers and automate international shipping. All of this would require underlying technology that was available 24/7 and could scale globally. As a startup, it was a daunting but exciting challenge.”

21% growth in transactions month on month

supported by seamless scaling.

77,000 miles less transport distance in 2022

thanks to Turnr’s customer-to-customer returns.

Our transactions are growing by 21 percent month on month, or 944 percent year on year. Thanks to IBM Cloud, we have no doubts about our ability to scale our platform to take on new opportunities while providing consistently outstanding user experiences. Linus Robertsson Founder and CEO Turnr
Levelling up with IBM

 


Turnr applied for Startup with IBM Accelerator Sweden, which offers B2B startups unique access to IBM resources to power their journey. The program focuses on emerging companies that are aiming to disrupt the competitive landscape or significantly impact sustainability in traditional industries or technology domains.

“As soon as we came across the Startup with IBM Accelerator initiative, we fell in love with it,” recalls Robertsson. “The opportunity to access IBM mentorship, expertise, technology, and networking was one we didn’t want to miss. When the program team selected us, we were delighted.”

As part of the engagement, Turnr teamed up with IBM specialists to review its platform, assessing the architecture against criteria including reliability, flexibility, and scalability. The startup migrated its platform to the IBM Cloud®, where it received free credits until its graduation from the program.

“At the start of our collaboration with the IBM team, some of our developers were nervous about working with such a large organization,” says Robertsson. “We wondered if IBM could match our agility. We quickly discovered that the IBM Accelerator program operated like a microservice inside IBM, keeping the pace of innovation extremely high. We really appreciated that the IBM team was never prescriptive in their advice, but instead respected our developers and their knowledge. It was a true collaboration.”

Turnr worked closely with the Startup with IBM Accelerator Sweden team to design and launch its platform using IBM Cloud services including IBM Cloud Container Registry, IBM Cloud Databases for PostgreSQL and IBM Cloud Kubernetes Service. Robertsson adds: “One of the biggest benefits of switching to the IBM Cloud and adding Kubernetes to the mix is that we’ve enabled worldwide scaling and a world-class user experience. This simply wasn’t possible until we teamed up with IBM.”

During 2022, while we’ve been supported by IBM Cloud, we’ve reduced transport distance with C2C returns by 1,244,000 km or 77,000 miles. This translates into huge reductions in environmental impact, which will only grow as our client base expands. Linus Robertsson Founder and CEO Turnr
Making a mark

Since graduating from the Startup with IBM Accelerator program, Turnr’s business is going from strength to strength, as it disrupts the e-commerce space with its revolutionary solution to the challenges of customer returns.

“Our transactions are growing by 21 percent month on month, or 944 percent year on year,” comments Robertsson. “Our work with the Startup with IBM Accelerator Sweden team has played a central role in our success. And thanks to IBM Cloud, we have no doubts about our ability to scale our platform to take on new opportunities while providing consistently outstanding user experiences.”

Today, Turnr counts Djerf Avenue and HUBSO Group AB among its clients. Running on IBM Cloud, the company is empowering fashion retailers to cut costs, activate new revenue streams, boost shopper loyalty and facilitate the circular economy.

“We’re excited to be working with brands that have sustainability as a core value,” says Robertsson. “Our pilot merchant for C2C returns was HUBSO through their labels A-DSGN, Sanne Alexandra Shop, and LXA. During 2022, while we’ve been supported by IBM Cloud, we’ve reduced transport distance with C2C returns by 1,244,000 km or 77,000 miles. This translates into huge reductions in environmental impact, which will only grow as our client base expands.”

Turnr is now exploring additional IBM Cloud services and go-to market support from IBM Business Partners Shibuya and Arrow to power the next stage of its growth.

Robertsson concludes: “We’re continuing to enhance the way we use returns data to deliver game-changing insights to our clients. For example, we’re considering incorporating IBM Watson into the AI model we use to generate recommendations. The breadth of the IBM technology portfolio and IBM partner ecosystem are helping us totally rethink the returns process, providing value to brands, their customers and the planet.”

Logo Turnr for use in case study
About Turnr

Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden in 2020, Turnr was established to fix the broken returns system. The company aims to provide modern fashion brands with the control and flexibility to automate, simplify and enhance the full reverse logistics process. Turnr is an IBM Business Partner that offers a white-label, modular returns platform based on IBM Cloud technology.

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