Leveraging industry expertise and strategic partnerships, Varispark was able to quickly and cost-effectively find a custom package solution that:
- Met USPS® requirements for mailing flats (0.75” maximum thickness)
- Protected the client’s products, worth $15 each
- Could be ordered online and fulfilled within 24-48 hours
- Was on brand, on time, and saved the client money
Carma (gocarma.com) is a leader in technology for encouraging, rewarding, and verifying high-occupancy commuting. A trusted partner of government and commercial organizations in fighting traffic congestion and reducing carbon emissions, Carma’s breakthrough technology has verified millions of carpool trips. Carma’s solution uses a small Bluetooth device that pairs with the Carma app: a simple way to encourage sustainable transportation.
By late 2019, Carma was scaling rapidly and needed a way to more quickly and cost-effectively fulfill orders for their Bluetooth devices to app users. Vice President of Operations, Katy Emerson, had conducted an exhaustive search for vendors who could store and distribute Carma’s devices, but the shipping costs were too high.
Potential vendors informed her that, due to the size of the Bluetooth device, it would not be able to go in the mail as a flat and would need to be mailed as a parcel. UPS shipping was significantly more expensive, but the measurements for mailing as a flat are strict: the maximum thickness is 0.75”. Vendors found that it was difficult to achieve the required thinness while also keeping the package rigid enough to protect the Bluetooth device in the mail.
Katy’s other concerns were volume and timing. Orders were coming in daily, and her team’s goal was to ship every order within 24-48 hours, which meant order fulfillment would need to happen every day. Katy forecasted around 50,000 orders would come in around the holiday season.
The team at Carma knew that in order to fulfill their orders on time and as cost-effectively as possible, they would need to find someone who could design a custom package solution that would allow the Bluetooth device to be shipped via US Mail as a flat.
Varispark accepted Carma’s custom package challenge. We started by reaching out to a few key partners who could help us craft the ideal solution. The first was our local postal commingling partner. Commingling combines mailings from more than one company in order to meet USPS discount minimums, and using this method, we were able to secure Carma a great price for shipping flats daily.
Then, we worked with one of our packaging partners, a company that specializes in durable, paperboard mailers that meet USPS specifications. Our partner had recently designed a custom package that met many of Carma’s requirements for a national direct-to-consumer razor company. Working together, we were able to modify that design to create the perfect solution for Carma.
The finished design met the size regulation for mailing as a flat, and it also included a tray to hold the device in place inside the envelope — another requirement from USPS. The custom package was more rigid than normally allowed for the shipping rates we had secured, so our partner worked with USPS to get special approval for its use.
Once the package design was finalized and approved, we partnered with a specialty printer out of Canada who was able to customize the rigid mailers with Carma’s branding. The holiday season was quickly approaching, but all these teams working together were able to finish the job and start shipping Carma packages right away in January 2020.
Orders for Bluetooth devices poured in through Carma’s website and were instantly pushed to Varispark digitally. We were able to fulfill orders within the requested turnaround times at a price that Carma couldn’t find anywhere else, thanks to a flat custom package solution. The project saved Carma $64,000 in postage in just the first 9 months.
Carma’s story is one of true partnership to get to a solution. Varispark worked hand-in-hand with multiple partners and USPS to achieve the custom solution that Carma required.
"Varispark is a rare gem in the business world today – it's a company with a heart. From the top down, this company is led with integrity and that comes through in every interaction with their clients. They do what they promise. They're innovative, creative, and bring genuine care to each client."Katy EmersonVice President of Operations, Carma
When I brought Varispark an out-of-the-box problem, they brought me a holistic, cost-effective solution that fit my exact request. "There was no 'cookie-cutter' solution based on what would be easiest for them. Varispark worked hard to earn our business, and the dedication they exemplified in the sales phase has continued well into execution. I'm truly grateful for their partnership. Our first public deployment has been a raging success and it is in no small part thanks to their hard work and involvement!"Katy EmersonVice President of Operations, Carma