Charge Bike’s ingenious shipping boxes likely have increased the chances their bikes will show up to customers with little or no damage.
Redditor /u/Date_snape recently took delivery of a brand new City Scape electric assisted bike from Charge Bike.
But what intrigued /u/Date_Snape about his new set of wheels wasn’t the bike itself, it was the gigantic rectangular box it showed up in.
There was a photo of a large aquarium on it that, from five feet away, looked like someone ordered an enormous glass tank.
Why would an electric bike company put a photo of an aquarium on their delivery box?
The explanation on the bike spells it out, and it’s actually quite clever.
Here’s the box and explanation in question.
If you haven’t already guessed, a photo of an aquarium is to influence whoever’s handling the box during the shipping process to think they’re actually moving around a large glass tank.
While a stereotypical shipper might just chuck around your typical bike-sized box with an electric bike inside, there might be more than a handful who take a look at the box, see an aquarium, and just assume there’s actually glass inside.
That might make them handle the box just a tad more carefully…might.
“Why an aquarium on the box?” the caption reads.
“You might have wondered why there is a big aquarium on the side of the box. We want to ensure that the bikes arrive in the same condition they leave the warehouse. To encourage careful handling, we tried to think of things that people would hand with care. And what is more fragile than glass? Thus, the aquarium on the box.”
There’s good reason to pull out all the tricks in the book to ensure your bike arrives pristine, they’re expensive!
According to Charge Bike’s latest prices, a City Electric Bike costs upwards of $1,800 after tax.
To put that in perspective, I just purchased a fairly nice and well equipped road bike and that only cost me around $280 with tax and free shipping.
A returned bike more than likely wipes out their potential profit per unit and probably costs them considering they repair or replace the broken bike, not to mention shipping, which typically is more than $100.
Charge Bikes isn’t the first bicycle company to do this as bike maker Kona did something quite similar, shipping their bikes in a box with a flat screen TV on it!
You have to admit, it’s pretty clever.
At worst, local shippers catch on and start treating these boxes like it owes them money, which, at that point, they’d either have to come up with something else to put on them or drop the ruse entirely, long enough until they forget.
Even then, it cost practically nothing for them to implement, and they probably reduced the amount of returned, damaged bikes by a considerable percentage.
And let’s just say it does actually does nothing, that’s not to say the scheme doesn’t drum up some free buzz.
Heck, they got me writing about it for free.
It’s practical and ingenious solutions to common problems (damaged product during shipping) like this that, for a moment, inspire you to think outside the box (no pun intended) for your own challenges at work or home.
What else should they put on the box that might work?
Do you think shippers are fooled so easily? Let me know your .02 in the comments below.