Clarks links with OtailO to reduce eco impact of product returns
Improving customer satisfaction and cutting environmental waste at the same time looks like a win-win for any retailer. To meet those dual goals, footwear retailer Clarks has signed Israeli circular economy tech start-up OtailO to process online product returns and reduce its environmental footprint.
Clarks is using OtailO’s inspection mechanism “in order to streamline specific return scenarios”. This means Clarks can assess the condition of the return while it is still in the consumer’s hands, and to take actions accordingly. “This enables more efficient business decisions and returns routing”, it noted.
Meanwhile, OtailO’s processing system has helped Clarks cut waste by removing pre-printed labels, and the retailer said it intends to remove all paperwork by the end of the year.
The new system claims to make it easy for online shoppers to return purchases through a “straightforward web application that has already managed to reduce customer calls around returns by 25%, turn 2,500 returns into exchanges, and save the retailer thousands of pounds in returns-associated costs”.
Clarks is also looking to further improve its environmental promise by ensuring that more pairs of shoes and other footwear can be returned by customers “in a more sustainable manner and resold”.
The system’s Software as a Service (SaaS) technology allows it to "process, validate, and resell returns” by utilising machine learning algorithms. OtailO says it disrupts the reverse logistics process and, as a result, “becomes the largest inventory management system without having any warehouses”.
Victor Bayata, Director of Customer Experience, Retail and Digital, at Clarks said: “Not only is OtailO helping us reduce costs and increase revenues by cutting our reverse logistics overheads, it’s also reducing wastage and carbon emissions. Using [the] customer-friendly technology we’re simplifying our supply chain, and the inspection functionality has reduced ineligible returns, eliminating unnecessary reverse logistics, meaning there is less of a carbon footprint.”
“We’re already seeing shopper satisfaction increase and look forward to working more closely with OtailO to embed their technology into more parts of our business, as the pandemic eases. In the not too distant future, we can see the solution delivering further benefits for both the high street and our sustainability goals, by allowing customers to drop off more returns at local stores.”
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