UPS (NYSE:UPS) has formed a strategic alliance with Optoro, providing a one-stop shop solution for retailers and manufacturers to optimize the transportation and disposition of returns and excess inventory. The companies’ joint reverse logistics solutions combine UPS’s operational and logistics expertise with Optoro’s software platform that maximizes recovery value and reduces environmental waste.
Founded in 2010, Optoro is a technology company that helps retailers and manufacturers manage, process and sell returned and excess inventory. Using comprehensive data analytics and multi-channel online marketing, Optoro’s software platform determines the best path for each item, maximizing recovery and reducing environmental waste. Optoro brings an innovative approach to the traditional liquidations model, simultaneously leveraging marketplaces to efficiently sell returned and excess goods across major digital platforms that include Amazon, eBay and Optoro’s own BLINQ.com and BULQ.com retail websites.
“We’re here to help retailers and manufacturers simplify returns management and unlock the full value from their reverse logistics programs,” said Alan Gershenhorn, UPS Chief Commercial Officer. “Optoro is an excellent complement to UPS’s existing portfolio of retail services that optimize the flow of goods, information and funds.”
“Retailers are facing a growing number of challenges, with the rise of customer returns being one of the most prominent, totaling over $260B in value annually in the U.S.” said Tobin Moore, co-founder and CEO of Optoro. “We’re excited to partner with UPS to couple our innovative technology platform with their world-class logistics services to offer the retail industry a best in class solution for this problem.”
The alliance was announced leading into UPS’s National Returns Day and post-holiday returns week. UPS’s busiest day of the year for returns will be Thursday, January 5, when holiday shoppers use UPS to return more than 1.3 million packages to retailers and manufacturers. More than 5.8 million packages will be returned with UPS during the first full week of January 2017. In 2016, shoppers returned more than 1 million packages on UPS’s National Returns Day and more than 5 million packages during the company’s peak returns week.
UPS recently invested in Optoro through the UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Investments made through the UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund help the company better understand new technologies and develop new business models in the rapidly changing retail business environment.
One of the core goals of both UPS and Optoro is to minimize the impact that returns has on the environment. UPS is consistently named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and one of Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens. Optoro was a winner of the World Economic Forum’s Circular Economy Award as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Corporate Citizenship Award for Best Environmental Stewardship.
UPS offers technology-driven services that help retailers deliver the experience shoppers desire, including:
- UPS My Choice® provides convenient delivery options that fit busy lifestyles. More than 31 million people worldwide use the service to manage when and where their residential deliveries arrive;
- UPS Access Point™ network offers more than 100,000 daily access points to return a shipment that include drop boxes, The UPS Store locations, Authorized Shipping Outlets, and UPS Access Point™ partner locations; this on top of handing it to any UPS driver;
- UPS Print Return Labels can be included in outbound shipments to simplify the returns process;
- UPS Electronic Return Labels can be emailed to consumers directly from UPS to improve their returns experience;
- UPS Returns Plus allows the merchant to send a driver to deliver a return label and pick up the return package from any address; and
- UPS Returns® Exchange is when a driver simultaneously picks up the return item in exchange for the replacement item delivery.