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Frustrated with returning packages? There's an app for that – Greater Milwaukee Today | GMToday.com

Scott Allen and Dustin Conrad are co-founders of Returns On Demand Inc. The app alleviates the stress of returning packages to shipping stores such as FedEx or UPS. Pictured (left to right): Scott Allen, Stacy Conrad, Barbara Allen and Dustin Conrad.

Scott Allen and Dustin Conrad are co-founders of Returns On Demand Inc. The app alleviates the stress of returning packages to shipping stores such as FedEx or UPS. Pictured (left to right): Scott Allen, Stacy Conrad, Barbara Allen and Dustin Conrad.
HARTLAND — Two friends experiencing the stress of returning packages developed a business to help others. Dustin Conrad of Hartland and Scott Allen of Mequon created Returns On Demand, an internet business.
They have been friends for over 40 years. They first met in middle school in the Lake Country area but lived far away from each other over the decades. They reconnected again 25 years ago.
“Since we were 11 years old we have done a lot of crazy things together. Nothing to this extent,” Conrad said.
They always predicted they would do something together, but it took over 40 years to figure it out.
Allen, who came up with the idea, said the business was born out of frustration.
“When you buy things online, and the online industry has been growing like a weed forever, I’m the one in the household who gets stuck with the returns,” Allen said.
Allen has to process the returns, get the confirmation number and get the package in the car. Allen said the ordeal continues with going to the UPS, FedEx or USPS.
One cold February morning he called his friend Dustin to complain.
“I said ‘This is ridiculous. My kids can get any meal they want delivered and I can get Lyft and Uber all the time. Why can’t someone come to my house and pick up my returns?’” he said.
At first Conrad thought it was a lousy idea, but he started to visualize it.
During the pandemic he was standing at FedEx with a return package with the line snaking out the door. People had to social distance at the time and the sliding door kept closing on Allen.
“I said this is miserable. Dustin said he had the same experience and thought we should start the company,” Allen said.
They decided to create an app for people to request return packages to be picked up.
“That is what started the drawings on the napkins to see how we would design it,” Allen said.
They developed the app through an accelerator and incubator software. It develops the look and feel of the app.
“After that you have to go out and physically develop it,” he said.
In total it has taken 10 months to develop the product to what it is today.
The business launched in micro markets in including Ozaukee and Waukesha County. They also work in Shorewood and Whitefish Bay.
“The idea of this launch is to get feedback for when we go to a much larger launch,” he said.
During the summer they tested out the app through family and friends before going to the micro markets. The process helped them refine the process of the app and get rid of any bugs.
“That is why we felt confident to go out on social media. We are going to start doing southeastern Wisconsin and then go national,” Allen said.
Conrad added they have plans to expand past return packages through FedEx and UPS.
“In the future we definitely have on our roadmap a handful of things but one is return back to the store,” Conrad said.
Conrad predicts the business will offer that service in the near future.

Users have been reviewing the app and seem to like it, according to the two friends. Conrad said some like it because they can track their return. He described it like a rideshare where a request comes in and the package is picked up from the porch.
“When we pick up the package, we notify the customer. When we deliver it to FedEx or UPS the customer is notified. They can track it via the tracking number once FedEx, UPS or USPS has taken possession of it,” Conrad said.
Others have had positive reactions because they come to the porch and pick up the package.
“They are glad they don’t have to do it anymore. I don’t know the last time you went to FedEx or UPS but it is crowded and there are long lines. People aren’t always the happiest in those stores,” Conrad said.
Allen added people also like that the app tracks their purchases.
“You no longer have to go through your emails if you sync the app with your email to find the confirmation,” Allen said.
They have heard good comments about the list of a user’s returns so they can check them off as they get a credit card statement.
“It is interesting how they cherry pick different things they like about this app,” Allen said.
For more information, visit bit.ly/returnsfb or returnsondemand.io.
 
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