Returns are costing #Amazon billions of dollars

Amazon’s multi-billion dollar returns issue is causing a huge problem for the company and the planet.
//  According to a National Retail Federation survey, a record $761 billion of merchandise was returned to retailers last year

Analysts estimate that given Amazon’s $469 billion of net sales revenue last year, returns numbers are likely to be staggering.

won’t share its overall return numbers, however the NRF estimated that 16.6% of all merchandise sold during the holiday season was returned, a figure up over 56% from the year before.

Online purchase return rates were even higher up from 18% in 2020 to 21% last year.

Analysts estimate that given Amazon’s $469 billion of net sales revenue last year, returns numbers are likely to be staggering.

US returns generate approximately 16 million tons of CO2 emissions during their convoluted reverse journey and up to 5.8 billion pounds of landfill waste every year

We’re talking about billions, billions, and billions of [dollars of] waste that’s a byproduct of consumerism run amok,” Columbia Business School director of retail studies Mark Cohen told CNBC.

“The reverse logistics are always going to be nasty because the merchandise, in most cases, cannot be resold as it was originally,” Cohen said.

“The most expedient pathway is into a dumpster, into a landfill.”

The ecommerce giant told CNBC that is doesn’t send any items to landfills but relies on “energy recovery” as a last resort.

“Energy recovery means you burn something to produce heat, to produce energy. And you rationalise the disposal of goods as a conversion from one form of matter to another,” Cohen added.

“To the degree they’re doing that I don’t think they fully reveal.”

Amazon has said that it is currently “working towards a goal of zero product disposal,” although it couldn’t set a target date for reaching the goal.

“We encourage a second life on all of the products that we receive back,” the company’s head of North America returns Cherris Armour told CNBC.

“And that comes in the form of selling the majority of the items that we do receive. They are resold as new and used, or they go back to the seller or supplier, or we donate them.”

Published by Raffaele Felaco

I am an enthusiastic leader with strong background in direct and indirect sales with an exten- sive experience in both retail and wholesale business. I have been fortunate to have worked alongside teams in structured environments both in Italy and abroad over the last 20 years, en- abling me to develop strong leadership skills, a natural approach in effective communication, the ability of positively influencing others and master complex business negotiations.

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