Amazon and Walmart, one of the largest multinational American technology companies are making use of artificial intelligence (AI) to come out with a new way of handling refunds as per a report from The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Customers are free to ask for a refund. However, they might not have to return the item even if they are granted one.
This idea is made possible apparently with the help of the AI to cut down the efforts and along with costs for the companies, which have seen an extraordinary rise in activity because of the global pandemic.
According to WSJ, a Walmart spokesperson said the option given to the customers to keep the refunded is mostly for the items the company doesn’t want to re-sell. The option is also determined on a case-to-case basis which depends on the individual customer’s purchase history and the cost of processing the return. The return has to make economic sense to process the return else the product/item is given to the customer to keep.
Why such changes in the way returns are handled?
This new way of handling return has been taken into account after observing the flow of returns in 2020. The number of e-commerce packages returned has increased 70% as compared to 2019, and moreover, because of the on-going global pandemic, there are many customers who didn’t want to take the items to physical stores. In addition, the reason these returns are occurring in the first place is due to the rise in the percentage of e-commerce sales itself in general that were driven by the pandemic’s digital shift, since items sold online are typically more likely to be returned than goods purchased in stores.
Huge companies like U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, and UPS have all reported higher return rates this year, WSJ reported, and delivery firms are working with retailers to help get costs down through giving scan-able codes that some stores like Walgreens or UPS stores will accept from customers to process the returns.