71lbs is a Florida-based startup who intends to help small and medium-sized businesses easily recover the billions left unclaimed in shipping ‘late’ delivery refunds. Since most consumers are unaware of FedEx and UPS’ money-back guarantee, which guarantees that shipments arrive on time or costs are reimbursed, over two billion dollars go unclaimed yearly. 71lbs help their customers to monitor the shipments for any late deliveries, keep tabs on their shipping costs and save money.
71lbs appears to be unique in that their focus is primarily on not just tracking shipments, but on capitalizing on the money-back guarantee system. Through a set of web-based software as a service (SaaS) tools, 71lbs allows shippers to view their transactions in one place. The company then automatically audits the data to identify any due late fees every week and mails the check to their clients. There is no upfront cost for this service. The company makes money until they collect money owed to their clients, and then, they take a small percentage of the money it gets back for shippers.
At this point in time, customer acquisition is 71lbs’s primary focus. Since launching, the founder says they’ve accumulated just over 20 customers in the small/medium business market. The company has been depending solely on word of mouth to bring attention to their service. Currently, 71lbs is using more of an inbound customer acquisition strategy. 71lbs has its own website, on which they introduce their services and provide sign up works. It is very easy to sign up for the service over the internet. Besides some basic information like name and email, clients need to fill out their FedEx and UPS’ account information. When I signed up, I got a brief welcome email. In addition, 71lbs also exposes itself to the users in social channels, such as Facebook and Twitter. In my view, they do not take full use of these social networks for customer acquisition. For example, they only have about 40 tweets and 100 followers on Twitter. And on their website, they do not update its new in time. Only four news are posted on the web and the latest one dated last month.
71lbs have some outbound customer acquisition as well. They talk with many small businesses through email to get them board and negotiate many shipping contracts. 71lbs also advertise itself on the YouTube video and some online newspapers.