Apr 2, 2020
In this week’s podcast I welcome Al Gerrie who is the Founder
and CEO of ZigZag Global, a software solution to help e-commerce
retailers manage returns domestically and globally. We recorded
this at the peak internet time during the first week of national
office closures due to the Corona virus, and unfortunately the
connection dropped a few time.
We speak about
Corona/Covid-19 and how it impacts his business and the supply
chain. ZigZag Global is connecting a global network of over 200
warehouses, 100 courier services and multiple international
marketplaces. ZigZag whitelabels the solution to 9 international
carriers and postal provider.
Success for him is about
right business at the right time; a thorough business model
to stick to and being laser focused on the end goal. For
him it is all about building the best business with the best
people; winning awards as part of a marketing
strategy, and building the best technology in the world. It
sounds simple but it has been a lot of hard work for
Al has over 20 years retail, logistics and ecommerce
experience as a consultant to major brands and is former Head of
Multichannel at OFFICE, Mountain Warehouse and
WeArePentagon. He was a very early pioneer in the mobile
shopping space, launching one of the first PayPal mobile shopping
experiences as early as 2007 (pre smartphone). He is an expert in
international delivery and returns, technical integrations, as well
as building ecommerce fulfilment and warehousing solutions with 3rd
Party logistics providers.
I found it interesting to learn that more and more people,
close to 40%, buy to try things out at home and then return the
item. VR (virtual reality), to his account, doesn’t have a huge
impact yet, as people still want to touch, feel and try the product
in flesh; consumers want choice. Hence the process for returns must
be nailed down for both consumers and retailers. Workflow,
experience as well as cost. A very complex process, which has to
take a lot of factors into consideration.
Al explains how local shipping and local drop off becomes more
important for buyers; it also reduces costs for the
In today’s world, the consumer doesn’t want to pay for
delivery. However, the costs of the returns needs to be
covered somewhere, and a hidden cost which affects the retailers’
I love when Al tells the story how he got into the business,
thinking I’d love to have a pound for every return. Listen in, the
ideas are there for entrepreneurs to take.
ZigZag has four types of clients, e.g. large
retailer, warehouse groups, Carriers (Whitelabel),
and Marketplaces. Their process takes only 60 seconds, and it
makes it super easy for customers to return. I love his holistic
approach, e.g. not only does he focus on the process for the
consumer and customer, but also the reduction of waste from the
label printing to the avoidance of air miles. Also, they are using
a lot of data, to for instance identify users that are returning
more often, or don’t pay the bill. Those would then be excluded
from future ad campaigns for instance or flagged in the system as
being problematic. I wonder if there is anything they haven’t
thought of yet?
At time of recording the Corona virus hasn’t taken a toll yet.
However, he anticipates a disruption around ports and goods moving
across countries. Long term, he expects that buying habits will be
changing for good. People will buy even more online, as we have
seen in China a few years ago. Once that habit has been
established, it is difficult for people to go back.
There are of course challenges with a reduced workforce being
in place, but he is confident we are getting through the crisis;
yet the consumer behaviour will change.
We also talk about his company taking measures for everyone to
work from home; ZigZag had planned this for many years and they are
quite prepared. Of course other business aren’t or are not able to
work from home. Another challenge in this crisis, and it will have
an impact on the way we are working moving forward.
The impacts he suggests to consider isn’t only work, but the
social impact like family. He also gives us his advice on what to
do when you work from home, balancing both work and
Unprecedented times indeed. Thank you Al, for being my
coaches transformations (career, life & business), and helps
individuals and companies through change. He is also a mindfulness
trainer and productivity expert. In his podcast Stories of Success
he interviews successful people and wrote a book on the back of