Makaro Jewelry: Scaling Lean with Digital Processes

Written By:
Nilaxsa Yoganathan
Posted on:
April 2, 2024
Reading time:

Table of contents

Scaling Lean with Digital Processes

No other jewelry label in the German-speaking region has grown as rapidly as Makaro Jewelry. Veronika demonstrates how they've overcome growing pains with 8returns.

The problem: Returns and KPIs could not be tracked in real-time, complicating quality management and customer support.

Makaro Jewelry has implemented a digital returns platform with 8returns, which not only meets the needs of the brand but has also become part of the shopping experience for customers - seamless and transparent.

Veronika Plank-Bachselten has been the Head of Logistics and Supply Chain Management at Makaro Jewelry for three years. Based in Vienna, the jewelry label has rapidly evolved from a small online shop to an established manufacturer of high-quality and sustainable jewelry, delivering throughout Europe!

We met her for an interview to understand how their returns management has evolved since they started using 8returns two years ago. With her, we revisit the beginning - and her biggest challenge. As the company grew, so did the logistical and bureaucratic workload - returns were manually recorded, timely intervention in case of issues was not possible, and the personnel effort was high.

Between material requirement planning and inventory management, Veronika eventually took on the task of optimizing cross-departmental processes. At the top of her list: digitizing returns management! The only requirement was to find a partner where automated processes were a core competency.

We'll show how she accomplished that.

Veronika Plank-Bachselten, Head of Logistics & Supply Chain Management

Tracking Returns in Google Sheets: Navigating Blindly

Until 2022, crucial KPIs such as return rates or reasons for returns could only be analyzed retrospectively. Especially in the case of defects, the team had no chance. "We never saw in real-time how our returns were developing and had no digital access to statistics. If the return rate for a product was unusually high, we couldn't intervene in time.

Costly and non-transparent   

Customers also faced a manual process with each return, which the Makaro Jewelry team tried to assist as best as possible. "Customers could return their products via a delivery address on the website. If there were any issues or inquiries, we were there to help, for example, by manually creating the label or assisting customers with the process. We always tried to minimize costs for our customers. For instance, orders from Germany could be sent to one of our German stores. However, this didn't always go smoothly, and with the growing online business, the number of support tickets increased.

A solution was needed to simplify the return process for customers and bring more transparency and efficiency to customer service.

Personalized Usage, Quick Integration

During the transition to a new fulfillment center, Veronika eventually learned about 8returns. "For me, transitioning to 8returns' digital platform was the only logical step to meet the company's growth. I wanted to act faster and, above all, more customer-friendly while keeping processes lean. I had full confidence that we would succeed."

The initial contact was made in mid-July 2022, and the first return through 8returns came in just a month later. "At the same time, we were changing the fulfillment center, which was our priority; otherwise, we could have implemented it even faster. The biggest question was how to best utilize and set up the software internally. Integrating it was then very easy."

Jewelry box of Makaro GmbH

"Finally, software that perfectly adapts to our needs."

"Whether it's edge cases, international shipping, or special offers during peak seasons, with 8returns, Veronika finally had the opportunity to realize her individual requirements for Makaro Jewelry in an automated process.

"When a product needs to be returned, customers are directed to the returns portal with just one click - without feeling like they're leaving our shop. From there, they can easily register their return using their order number."

Through 8returns, customers can both exchange products and request refunds, with the option to offer different return methods for each product. "I can directly set up even complex rules in 8returns, automating individual processes for specific product categories."

International customers also benefit from automation. Depending on the country, the correct carrier is selected, the return label is generated, and sent via email. "At this point, we also use individual rules: For example, if I return a defective product, no automatic label is generated. In 8returns, the return is then put 'On hold,' and we can first investigate what's wrong with the product. Our customer service is trained to address and review these cases specifically. This allows us to see important information about the quality of our products in real-time."

Returns as Part of the Shopping Experience

Veronika also emphasized the importance of seamlessly integrating the returns platform into the shopping experience. "After specifying the reason for the return, as a customer, I can decide whether I want the refund to be issued to my original payment method or receive a voucher with a five percent bonus."

Now, it's time for a conclusion! What is the outcome after two years with 8returns, Veronika?

Customer Service 2.0 and Sustainable Growth

"The best part is that we've elevated our customer service to the next level. Before 8returns, handling defective items was particularly challenging as we had to manually gather all the information. Email correspondence was extremely high. Today, customers can upload a picture and description directly in the portal. When our customer service team starts processing, all the necessary information is already there, allowing us to promptly address customers with a solution. This saves us a lot of time.

Makaro Jewelry continues to grow, but today we're much better equipped. The best part is that we can still keep our processes lean and focus on our core competency - producing sustainable, chemical-free jewelry of the highest quality."

Additionally, the individual care of customers has improved. In 8returns, we can now not only view the tracking number of the package but also download the return label, enabling us to track the status of the return shipment more quickly."

With transparency towards the highest quality

Tracking is no longer a problem today either. Our most important KPI is the return rate. We can now see this in real-time, per product and overall, which is fantastic. In the backend, we can even download targeted analyses to see which products are defective and why they are being returned. This ensures our high standard of quality and service."

Immediately after switching to 8returns, we received feedback from our customers who were pleased that their returns are now handled digitally. This feedback came especially from customers who have been shopping with us for a long time. They appreciate that the process is now less cumbersome and saves them time. Ultimately, that's what matters most - the satisfaction of our customers.

All images courtesy of Makaro GmbH.

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