The Head of Rent the Runway Managed Transportation reports to the Vice President of Transportation & Planning & maintains responsibility for designing, launching & operating RtR transportation modes not linked to major parcel carriers like UPS, FedEx or USPS.
Rent the Runway is predominantly a subscription service that provides B2C fulfillment of high end womens fashion garments across the United States. With Unlimited, 4-Swap or 2-Swap models, our customers are able to replace their closets with a rotating selection of current, high-end garments curated by our fashion team & cared for by our Dream Fulfillment Centers. A smaller portion of Rent the Runway revenues are driven by our reserve business where customers rent single garments for one-time use. The reserve business was the foundation on which Rent the Runway was built & the subscription model was launched in 2016.
While Rent the Runway provides a growing array of ways for customers to purchase garments including sample sales & the Keep it Forever option for rentals, the majority of Rent the Runway outbound shipments are eventually returned. Outbound shipments make their way to customers through a host of methods including major domestic parcel carriers (UPS, FedEx) & small local couriers. Reverse logistics are executed in a similar fashion as customers currently own the first mile either to a major parcel carrier access point (FedEx store or drop box) or to a Rent the Runway managed dropbox located within the confines of one of our partners which include the likes of Nordstrom & WeWork. In 2013, Rent the Runway opened our first retail store in New York City & by 2019, we had 4 stores beyond NYC including LA, San Francisco, Chicago & Washington DC. These retail stores originated to support the reserve experience including showrooms, fitting rooms & consultants. The subscription business eventually displaced reserve & the retail stores became anchors for subscription transactions including both drop-offs & pick-ups. Drop-offs are appealing to customers as the scan of the discrete inventory tags at the stores on Rent the Runway hosted hardware immediately opens slots that would take days to open if customers waited for shipments to travel to the fulfillment center & occur during the receiving process. Pick-ups in store have other advantages including avoiding missed doormen & porch piracy. We announced the closure of our retail storefronts on August 14, 2020, because we know we can recreate their current transactional purpose in a significantly more favorable economic model.
Transportation is a both a major cost component & key customer experience metric for every e-commerce company. For a subscription based clothes rental company, transportation is twice as important. Customers are paying to possess clothes & transportation takes away from their opportunity to wear them so time in transit is a repeated barometer of customer satisfaction. Secondly, while e-commerce has return rates that are 3-4X that of brick & mortar stores, Rent the Runway manages the reverse logistics for almost every unit we ship. This makes success in transportation key to customer experience & transportation a function in which we must both innovate & excel. Customer adoption of a rental service is linked to the transit time & where transit times are the shortest (around our fulfillment centers), we see the highest concentration subscription as they benefit from next day & sometimes same day turnaround times. The goal is to ultimately level the playing field & provide this same level of service across the country.
And while Rent the Runway has contracts with major parcel carriers that move a large percentage of both our outbound & inbound volume, our opportunity to innovate lies outside of these massive networks that dont cater to the unique needs of a subscription rental service. In the role, the Head of RtR Managed Transportation owns the responsibility of designing, launching & operating innovative & new transportation methods. The best current examples are Drop Boxes which sit within existing retail & commercial establishments like WeWork & Nordstroms. In a recent note from Jenn Hyman, Rent the Runway CEO, she mentions, Weve been evolving our physical presence strategy to be focused on expanding our Drop-Off Box network. Like it has done with so many other things, COVID-19 has accelerated our timeline to focus our strategy on drop-off boxes. Our team is currently hard at work getting our Drop-Off Boxes back online across all markets. Im excited to share that by September, well be up & running again in 14+ cities across the country. But drop boxes are just the beginning of addressing the pick up experience we lost with the retail stores. Opportunities for lockers, mobile drop-off/pick-up points & partnering with the wide-assortment of companies accelerating the buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) could become an easier habit to integrate into daily life (and one that doesnt require a customer to get out of her car.)
In this role, the Head of RtR Managed Transportation will identify new methods to manage the movement of product from the first mile to the last. Methods will be evaluated by transit time, unit economics, on-time delivery, customer experience in the delivery & shrink. Partners will have to be identified, partnership agreements authored & terms set. Technology will need to be created on the Rent the Runway side & linked to partner technology. There will be opportunities for marketing & co-branding that will have to be identified & leveraged. The Rent the Runway experience will continue to become more digital & the ways customers can open slots will broaden including the launch of Cross-ship where customers can open slots within the app changing their perspective on the value of different delivery services. No matter what, moving garments between customers & fulfillment centers sits at the heart of Rent the Runway core capabilities & the role of this job is to pivot this core from traditional & commodity parcel methods to new & innovative alternatives that deliver an unmatched customer experience at unmatched unit economics.
Requirements for the role are:
- Experience in e-commerce fulfillment or major manufacturing/distribution company
- Experience with building & utilizing financial tools & reporting
- Experience in leading/collaborating with tech team in the pursuit of building product & features.
- Experience with building, owning & delivering on operating metrics
- Strong analytical background & the ability to apply that at some level to both readily available data & the vision to create new data structures that drive future business reporting & decisions.
- Experience in deal making including working with corporate partners, vendors & their legal teams in building operating agreements.
- While this begins as an IC role, the transportation team will quickly expand to cover the opportunities presented by the size of the spend at Rent the Runway. With this growth, experience in managing teams is required.