Some of the biggest retailers are using artificial intelligence (AI) to help dictate their return policies.
For many consumers, once they return an item they never give it another thought. For retailers, however, returns can represent a significant loss. There are a number of factors that can make it even worse, such as the size of item, shipping and shelf life.
Walmart, Target and Amazon are turning to AI to help them optimize their return process. According to The Wall Street Journal, the retailers are using AI to determine when it is worth processing a return, versus letting the customer keep the product and issuing them a refund instead.
Lorie Anderson of Vancouver, WA, tried to return makeup to Target, as well as batteries to Walmart. In both cases, the retailers told her to keep the items and still issued a refund.
“They were inexpensive, and it wouldn’t make much financial sense to return them by mail,” Ms. Anderson, 38 years old, said. “It’s a hassle to pack up the box and drop it at the post office or UPS. This was one less thing I had to worry about.”
Target even encourages customers to donate items they receive a refund for.
AI has been making its way into a wide range of industries. This is merely the latest example of how it can be used to help companies make better decisions.