European multi-national group, Ikea Retail US, has joined hands with Optoro, a provider of returns optimisation technology. Optoro’s technology will be implemented in ten Ikea distribution centres, 50 retail stores, and the customer support centre in the US, 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. Optoro’s solution will enable us to eliminate much of the waste created in the reverse supply chain, from minimising the carbon emissions released in return shipping to finding the best next homes for returned items,” Javier Quiñones, President and Chief Sustainability officer of Ikea Retail US said in a report.

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 bn 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. 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 ecommerce growth,” said Tobin Moore, CEO and Co-Founder of Optoro said.