Some retailers turn to technology to solve holiday gift return issues.

Although hristmas is now over, the country is moving to a new tradition: the return of all the unwanted holiday gifts.

Some retailers turn to technology to solve holiday gift return issues.

Online sales are expected to reach a record this year. This could mean that returns will rise even higher. Many retailers don't have the ability to return their products, and a large portion of returns end up in landfills each year.

Online retailers have begun to offer support for companies dealing with the tsunami of returns. This helps them make their business more sustainable.

Optoro is one of these retailers. Tobin Moore, CEO of Optoro said that companies often see their returns accumulate in warehouses before getting rid them off quarterly or twice per year.

Janet Shamlian, CBS News correspondent, said that they might liquidate them or destroy them. She visited an Optoro warehouse near Nashville, Tennessee.

Optoro estimates that 23 million refrigerators and 6,400 Boeing 747s are filled with the amount of merchandise returned each year.

Optoro's Nashville facility is one of three dozen that the company uses to process merchandise from sellers such as American Eagle, Target and Bed Bath and Beyond. Optoro software is used by workers to check in merchandise and ensure a refund or relist the product for a future sale.

Employee Rocsana Panttaleo stated, "We're just there to grade it and ensure that it has a [barcode] and that it has the correct description."

Optoro holds returned products until they are sold again.

They are housed here. Moore stated that it was the most efficient thing. Moore stated, "Wherever that good returns, if it can be returned to stock from there it means less shipping, less touches and less waste."

Optoro reports that 89% of online customers will not buy from another company if they are unable to return their order.

The holiday season has seen online shopping grow in popularity. Sales are expected to reach a record $207 billion in the U.S. and will likely account for 25% of all sales nationally, according to Adobe Analytics. Optoro reports that 25% of all e-commerce orders are returned, which is a staggering figure compared to 8% for physical stores.

Abby McDonald, an online shopper from Houston, used Happy Returns to return her unwanted goods to hundreds of businesses that had sold them. You only need a QR code to send it back. McDonald's sent her a dress that she had purchased online from Draper James, a women's clothing retailer.

She said, "It's near my office, so it was easy to pop out at noon and drop it off there for free."

Happy Returns is a program that allows clothing retailer Everlane to return more than 70% of its unwanted goods. Katina Boutis, Everlane's manager of returns, said that seamless returns are crucial for customers as well as the company's bottom line.

She stated, "So I believe the speed and efficiency we can get the product on the shelves and available for another customer are really integral to our overall model." It has a direct impact on our sales and revenue.

The environment is another winner. Optoro estimates that 6 billion tons worth of holiday inventory will end up in landfills by the New Year.

The seller, buyer and planet all win by reducing shipping costs and getting product back in stock quickly.

You need to login to comment.

Please register or login.