STUR: Returns processing in under a minute

Written By:
Nilaxsa Yoganathan
Posted on:
April 22, 2024
Reading time:

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Returns processing in under a minute

Error-prone, time-consuming, and barely manageable for the small team - the manual returns process became a problem for STUR during its growth phase.

STUR now offers customers digital and paperless returns, bringing efficiency to internal processes and saving time every day.

Christoph Seidel is the Operations Manager at STUR - a Berlin-based startup founded in 2019 that has since become a true love brand for fans of quality cookware.

The two founders of STUR, Simon Köstler and Filip Mierzwa, met during their studies and quickly discovered that their greatest commonality was their passion for cooking. Throughout their years on campus, they not only prepared many dinners but also tested dozens of pans on their blog, Simon's and Filip's greatest learnings from this experience: the reluctance of hobby cooks to use cast iron pans is high, and coated pans simply don't last long enough. Thus, their idea for STUR was born - a cast iron pan that was made in Germany, sustainable, and durable. In 2020, the first pan was sold after a successful Kickstarter campaign. The founders' goal: to make cast iron cookware suitable for everyday use and to become a nationally recognized brand for minimalist cookware.

The conclusion four years later: Mission accomplished! However, the hurdles of the growth phase were unavoidable. The manual returns process became a problem as sales numbers increased.

Today, Christoph Seidel at STUR is responsible for solutions. In his role as Operations Manager since July 2023, he is responsible for the Supply Chain and Customer Support. A smooth returns process was particularly important to him in order to improve the customer experience and streamline internal processes - major challenges for the small team. "We want to continue growing and bring good products to the market," says Christoph. "This isn't possible without an automated returns process. Today, we are very well positioned, but it wasn't always like this."

Together with Christoph, we take a look back to find out how STUR managed to transition from a manual to a fully automated process with 8returns.

Christoph Seidel, Operations Manager

Manual returns: A task for the entire team

Christoph knows from his colleagues how time-consuming the returns process was initially: "Before 8returns, it was a process involving Google Sheets, emails, and phone calls with customers and our shipping service provider. Overall, handling was very error-prone and time-consuming.

Back then, our process involved customers sending an email if they didn't like the product. We responded to the ticket, manually created a return label and a credit note. All information about a return was kept by the team in a Google Sheet - including tracking. Where is the product? What is the reason for the return? When will it arrive? Questions that we couldn't answer at a glance."

It quickly became clear: a process was needed that would consolidate fewer team resources and grow with the scaling of online sales.

Return in a few clicks

Christoph remembers the transition period: "In general, the implementation was super easy. As a startup, we were in the acute learning phase at that time, so the integration took a little longer at STUR than necessary. From today's perspective, setting up the software was very easy."

Personalized Usage, Quick Integration

Since integrating 8returns, the returns process at STUR has been automated and, above all, digital. With one click on the website, customers go directly to the returns portal. There, they complete the return in three steps:

1. Enter the order number and their email address

2. Select the product they want to return

3. Specify the reason for the return, for example, "Issues with handling" or "Damaged product."

"A detailed description of the problem and a photo upload are directly requested on the platform. This is super convenient, especially when it comes to damages," Christoph tells us.

"The great thing is: In 8returns, we can directly trace what the reason for the return is. For example, for the cast iron pans, we assign a casting code that customers can enter directly via the portal. We can then contact our producers and ask what happened exactly with the batch. These customizations of the returns platform make it easy for us in daily business."


STUR uses individual rules to better understand their customers' problems and thus improve customer support. "8returns allows different actions to be performed based on various variables. So, in some cases, a return label is created directly, or our support team gets in touch again. For issues with handling, for example, we as the STUR company ask, "Can we help you better understand the product or give you tips on how to use it better? This rule helps us to take another chance to convince customers of the product and ideally prevent returns."

STUR cookware filled with eggplants

Key KPIs at a glance

"Before, we could only track rudimentary, not much further than the return rate and the cost of a return," recalls Christoph. "Today, it's much more comprehensive. The return reasons are predefined, but you can also customize them per product and thus conduct precise analyses. We now have a much better understanding of what the reasons are.

8returns provides the most important insights into our returns, allowing us to derive actions directly and keep our key KPIs in mind. If a product, for example, has a high return rate, we can examine exactly what's going on. KPIs that we couldn't track before are now in view."


However, the biggest change is the time saved for the small team."Manually, we spent 15 to 30 minutes on a return. With 8returns, it's now under a minute. Leaving the process to the software and its automations saves us an incredible amount of work every day."

The customer experience has also changed: "All important shipping information is sent out automatically. Customers can register their return without any waiting times. This allows us to better serve customers because the process is flexible and automated. They can use the platform anytime, even if they want to return in the middle of the night. So, we've managed to significantly improve the experience for our customers!

We wanted to take the fastest route when it comes to returns. We've achieved that. Today, the software, together with the customers, takes care of the work - quickly, automatically, and simply. With a few clicks, the return issue is resolved."

All images courtesy of STUR GmbH.

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