Don’t like your Christmas present? That’s too bad because if you return it, it may end up in a trash heap.
According to Optoro, a tech firm that helps retailers manage their returned items, your unwanted gifts can rack up to $90 billion worth of merchandise for retailers — and much of it likely won’t be resold.
Only half of the returned goods actually make it to shelves, and most of them cannot be resold at full cost, particularly electronic goods that can lose much of their value in just six months. Around 25 percent of the items are sent back to the manufacturers. Others, which come with opened boxes or damaged packaging, are often sold for a fraction of their cost to liquidators or discount retailers.
Retailers also have to foot the cost for assessing the returned items and repackaging them. Online shopping has made the process even more complex because customers expect free shipping for their purchases. So far, many retailers are footing the bill for that too. In fact, many believe it would be cheaper to just throw away the returned orders in a trash bin — a practice that is not good for the environment as an estimated 5 million pounds of trash comes from returned items each year.
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