RLA News & Views

Inside Pollen Returns’ Newly Patented Reverse Logistics Technology

May 30, 2023

Atlanta-based reverse logistics platform Pollen Returns has secured a patent for its tech-powered, direct-to-consumer returns solution.

The tool brings together existing logistics operators, from mail carriers to gig drivers, to create a unique, automated operational ecosystem that makes the returns process speedier and more efficient for both retailers and end consumers, according to chief operating officer Mark Hart.

To use it, a consumer engages with a retailer to start a return online, and chooses Pollen as their preferred return method. From there, they schedule a pickup directly from their doorstep and hand over the unwanted goods to a driver, without packaging or a return shipping label. The company’s tech infrastructure allows the driver to log the receipt of the return on the spot using a photo, giving retailers the assurance that the item is on its way back to them and expediting the refund process.

Pollen has engaged with rideshare and food service companies to mobilize fleets of drivers to conduct returns pickups, Hart said. From there, the goods are transferred to mail carriers like UPS and FedEx, where they are aggregated and transported back to the retailer. “While the driver is making the pickups, we’re communicating with the with [the mail carrier],” Hart explained. “We give them the heads up that a driver is going to be coming in with a QR code,” which stipulates the size of the box needed for the shipment, and the shipping address. “That’s what our technology does—it handles the coordination of all of it,” he added.

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