In the e-commerce business Nate Faust has spent so many years — he was a VP at Quidsi running Diapers.com and Soap.com, co-founder and COO at Jet purchased by Walmart for $3.3 billion then a VP at Walmart.
He said that it’s “crazy” that 25 years after the industry started over time, it’s still counting on “single-use, one-way packaging.” That’s annoying for consumers to affect and features a real environmental impact, but Faust said, “If any single retailer were to undertake to tackle this problem immediately on their own, they might run up into an enormous rise to buy this costlier packaging and this two-way shipping.”
So he’s looking to alter that together with his new startup Olive, which consolidates a shopper’s purchases into one weekly delivery during a reusable package.
Olive works with many different apparel brands and retailers, including Adidas, Anthropologie, Everlane, Hugo Boss, Outdoor Voices and Saks boulevard. After consumers check in, they will install the Olive iOS app and/or Chrome browser extension, then Faust said, “You shop on the directly on the retailer and brand sites you normally would, and Olive assists you therein checkout process and automatically enters your Olive details.”
The products are sent to an Olive consolidation facility, where they’re held for you and combined into a weekly shipment. Because the retailers are still shipping products out like normal, all that packaging remains getting used — but a minimum of the buyer doesn’t need to eliminate it. And Faust said that eventually, Olive could work more closely with retailers to scale back or eliminate it.
Until then, he said the important environmental impact comes from “the consolidation of deliveries into fewer walk stops” the startup estimates that doubling the amount of things during a delivery reduces the per-item carbon footprint by 30%.
Delivery of weekly shipments is done by regular mail carriers in most parts of the US, and by local couriers in dense urban areas. They arrive in reusable shippers made up of recyclable materials, and you’ll return any products by just selecting them within the Olive app, then putting them back within the shipper and flipping the label over.
Faust argued over the benefit of the return process (no labels to print out, no visits to the local FedEx or UPS store) should make Olive attractive to shoppers who aren’t drawn in by the environmental impact.
“In order to possess the most important environmental impact, the point can’t be the environmental impact,” he said.
Olive delivery is out there at no extra cost to the buyer, who just pays whatever they normally would for shipping.
Olive runs counter to the “arm’s race” between Amazon and other e-commerce services working to deliver purchases as quickly as possible, Faust admitted. But he said that the startup’s consumer surveys found that shoppers were willing to attend a touch longer so as to urge the opposite benefits.
Plus, Olive is starting with apparel because “there’s not that very same expectation of speed” that you simply get in other categories, and since the things cost enough that the delivery economics still compute, although you simply order one product during a week.