For a century, every kid in America wanted a Radio Flyer. The iconic, 100-year-old brand's signature product - its little red wagon - represents childhood freedom at its best.
Now, every kid in Canada can get a custom Radio Flyer, too. For the first time ever, Radio Flyer ships e-commerce products directly from its base in Chicago to Canadian homes.
The company's first-ever, direct-to-consumer e-commerce venture outside the United States is driven by a Tesla kid's car that Radio Flyer began selling in summer 2016. Fully featured, fully customizable, as the company puts it, the Tesla Model S for Kids is a drivable battery-powered vehicle. Customers go online where they can choose paint colors and other accessories to personalize rides and "recreate the ultimate Tesla experience to introduce the next generation of drivers to electric vehicles," as Radio Flyer says.
More than 90 percent of Canadians have online access, making it one of the most wired nations on Earth. Still, opening direct-to-consumer delivery for the first time north of the border required careful deliberation.
"Our customer experience is always first with Radio Flyer," says Mary Kate Venturini, Radio Flyer's marketing manager. "We're very meticulous in how we treat our customers, and we always want to provide them with a great e-commerce and purchasing experience."
Radio Flyer called on long-time, trusted solutions advisors from UPS for help.
The Tesla Model S for Kids came with challenges. The vehicle is long (55 inches) and heavy (50 pounds). Its lithium batteries must be shipped separately, a packaging and compliance challenge. What's more, Radio Flyer worried that targeting Canada would impact the cost for consumers. Any large capital investment would raise costs for a high-end product that had to have a competitive price to attract Canadian buyers.
UPS delivered solutions. "We helped Radio Flyer offer a strong international consumer experience at a low total logistics price," says Jerry Slubowski, UPS senior account executive. "That made the difference in Radio Flyer's decision" to expand to Canada.
Jake Guffey, Radio Flyer's production and supply chain manager, agrees. "For the international launch of the Tesla Model S for Kids, UPS came up with the right solutions on how to ship the product at a low cost and keep customer service a top priority."
Radio Flyer and UPS devised a plan to fulfill the Canada market with UPS® Standard ground shipping - no costly new Canadian distribution center or staff required. To support the customer experience, the teams set up an online automated brokerage system that fully calculates total landed costs on every Tesla kid's car order - prior to purchase - on the website. When orders arrived, customers owed nothing - not one extra Canadian penny. The solution eliminated surprise fees, reduced delays, gave up-to-date tracking capabilities, and shipped orders same-day. Customers can even control the time and place of delivery using UPS My Choice® service.
Radio Flyer and UPS have collectively earned the loyalty of customers for more than 200 years. The two companies created this expansion opportunity through mutual trust.
"Our companies have worked together for 37 years, and we have a strong relationship with open lines of communication," says Guffey. "UPS understands what we need, from helping Radio Flyer choose the lowest-cost shipping options for our e-commerce expansion into Canada to growing brand loyalty with a great customer experience."
"We worked with Radio Flyer to make shipping to Canada as easy as shipping to Iowa," says UPS's Slubowski. "We know Canada, and we know how to help companies succeed there."
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