IKEA Sets Out to Reduce Waste from Returns

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IKEA Sets Out to Reduce Waste from Returns


More on Return Optimization Technologies

As consumer expectations become rigid around returns and the returns experience, many retailers struggle to keep up with these demands at the expense of sustainable business decisions.

Join Ben Sayles, strategy, innovation and business development manager at IKEA USA, during “The returns opportunity; How return optimization technologies benefit retailers and consumer experiences to learn how retailers can utilize returns optimization technologies as a way to turn returns into a profitable opportunity while contributing to a positive customer experience at the NRF Big Show 2020.

IKEA Retail U.S. is partnering with Optoro to implement its returns optimization technology in 10 IKEA distribution centers, 50 retail stores, and the customer support center in the U.S., and the company is exploring the potential to expand the partnership into other markets. The platform will streamline the returns flow and improve customer experience. Using Optoro's platform, IKEA Retail aims to remove waste from its reverse supply chain as part of its mission to build a circular business.

"We're on a mission to become a circular business by 2030, and we need partners like Optoro who can help us achieve our goals," said Javier Quiñones, president & chief sustainability officer of IKEA Retail U.S. "Optoro's solution will enable us to eliminate much of the waste created in the reverse supply chain, from minimizing the carbon emissions released in return shipping to finding the best next homes for returned items."

Returns create costly financial and environmental problems for retailers, and with the growth of e-commerce, the volume of returned inventory continues to rise. According to the National Retail Federation, over $400 billion in goods are returned every year in the US. Historically, many returns end up in landfills and the transportation of these goods contributes to retail's carbon footprint. Optoro's solution leverages data analytics and machine learning to help retailers efficiently manage and resell returned inventory.

"We are thrilled to partner with IKEA Retail, a global leader in designing a more sustainable retail future," said Tobin Moore, CEO and cofounder of Optoro. "IKEA shares our mission of looking to innovation and technology to build the circular economy. Through our work together, we will be able to make an even larger impact on reducing waste from returns, while also improving the customer experience to help fuel e-commerce growth." 

Ingka Group, owner of IKEA Retail U.S., recently participated in Optoro's latest funding round through its investment arm, Ingka Investments. This investment is the latest in a series of investments made by Ingka Group in U.S.-based businesses, all of whom share the brand's values and ongoing commitment to becoming people and planet positive.