When you receive a faulty or unwanted item, Amazon usually asks you to initiate a return for a refund or replacement. However, if the item is inexpensive, it might cost the company a lot to ship it back to the warehouse.
So, companies like Amazon and Walmart are asking customers to keep these items to save some money. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, these online retail giants are using AI to determine if it economically makes sense to initiate a return of an unwanted item.
The report notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this process as more people are ordering stuff online, and companies could increase efficiency if there’s one less logistical hassle to deal with.
Target and Walmart both confirmed to the WSJ that they ask customers to keep or donate the items they don’t plan on reselling. The publication also notes that according to several shipping companies, returns in the past year have jumped significantly.
CBRE Group, an investment firm, said that returns in the past holiday season could skyrocket to $70.5 billion — 73% more than the average of the last five years.