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March 30, 2022

Clarks, Otailo partner to tackle returns and lower carbon footprint

Footwear retailer Clarks has engaged circular economy tech start-up Otailo to help process online product returns and reduce its environmental footprint. 

By Hannah Abdulla

Clarks has gone live with Otailo’s sustainable online product returns solution in the UK and is now looking to expand it to the US.

Clarks is using Otailo’s inspection mechanism to streamline specific return scenarios. The inspection enables Clarks to assess the condition of the return while it is still in the consumers’ hands, and to take action accordingly, thus enabling more efficient business decisions and returns routing.

Clarks says Otailo’s solution has already helped cut waste by removing pre-printed labels, and it intends to remove all paperwork by the end of the year.

The new system is said to have already reduced customer calls around returns by 25%, turn 2,500 returns into exchanges, and save the retailer thousands of pounds in returns-associated costs.

Otailo, founded by Ronit and Alessandro Mayer in 2019, enables retail and e-commerce customers to return goods to approved bricks-and-mortar stores for resale, as well as by post.

While Clarks is focused on growing its footprint worldwide, both in-store and through online sales, and committing to a sustainable and circular approach. By working with Otailo, Clarks is looking to further improve its environmental promise by ensuring that more pairs of shoes and other footwear can be returned by customers in a more sustainable manner and resold.

Victor Bayata, director of customer experience, retail and digital at Clarks, says: “Not only is Otailo helping us reduce costs and increase revenues by cutting our reverse logistics overheads, it’s also reducing wastage and carbon emissions. Using Otailo’s customer-friendly technology we’re simplifying our supply chain, and the inspection functionality has reduced ineligible returns, eliminating unnecessary reverse logistics, meaning there is less of a carbon footprint.

“We’re already seeing shopper satisfaction increase and look forward to working more closely with Otailo to embed their technology into more parts of our business, as the pandemic eases. In the not too distant future, we can see the solution delivering further benefits for both the high street and our sustainability goals, by allowing customers to drop off more returns at local stores.”

Ronit Mayer, CEO of Otailo, adds: “Given the pressures our climate and natural resources are under, it’s vital that we do everything we can to reduce the carbon footprint of our logistics supply chains and ensure goods are reused, rather than end up in landfill.

“We created Otailo to tackle these critical issues that online retailers face, creating a returns management ecosystem that not only reduces carbon emissions and wastage but also helps re-invigorate local high street businesses.”

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