Retail and logistics technology platform Optoro, Inc. on Wednesday (Dec. 22) closed a $25 million strategic funding round led by enterprise solution platform Zebra Technologies Corporation.
Other investors in Optoro’s more recent effort included circular solutions-focused investor Volta Circle, as well as previous investors including eBay Inc. and UPS. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Optoro.
American Eagle, Best Buy, Target, Staples and IKEA are among the retailers that rely on Optoro’s returns technology platform, which uses data science and real-time decision-making automation to determine the best path for each returned item.
“Zebra is investing in Optoro based on its strong track record of helping its retail customers overcome the challenges accelerated by the pandemic,” said Tony Palcheck, managing director of Zebra Technologies, in the joint announcement. “The results of our recent Global Shopper Study showed that eight in 10 North America shoppers prefer retailers that offer easy returns, while only six in 10 retail associates say their companies are highly experienced with online returns. We believe Optoro will continue to grow in the areas that align well with our own vision for retail and eCommerce in the era of the on-demand economy.”
Zebra and Optoro will also “pursue new solutions and technology to further innovate returns management, cutting waste and driving more profitable growth for retailers,” the joint announcement says.
“eCommerce keeps growing, and more online shopping results in more returns,” said Tobin Moore, co-founder and CEO of Optoro. “With an already fragile supply chain, retailers need solutions now to efficiently manage returns, and to get goods back to stock or secondary markets as quickly as possible.
“With Zebra Technologies, we’re offering retailers the ability to accelerate returns processing with our best-in-class software and Zebra’s industry-leading mobile computers,” he continued. “This investment and relationship will enable us to help retailers move inventory faster and more efficiently through the supply chain, which will cut costs, minimize their environmental impact and improve the customer experience.”
PYMNTS research shows that the average return costs retailers two-thirds of the original price because of factors like labor, transportation and warehouse expenses, and that more than $66 billion in product returns will revert into the supply chain.