Mail order giant, OTTO, teams up with Blue Yonder to reduce product returns

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German mail-order retailer OTTO and predictive analytics business, Blue Yonder, have teamed up to research the key reasons for product returns in a bid to reduce their frequency.

According to Blue Yonder, OTTO examined its big data in the course of an analysis workshop to search systematically for the key drivers of returns. 

Alexander Pompös, project manager for offer and category control at OTTO, said: “Especially important to us was the holistic examination of all dimensions. The essential advantage of incorporating Blue Yonder into the return predictions is that for the first time, various data sources relating to the topic of returns can be linked to one another. The resulting analysis possibilities offer great potential.”

The project revealed the key reasons for returns across product lines, in logistics and for the consumer.

Customers often place orders for a selection of products, ordering items in different sizes and colours, for example. 

A customer ordering jeans may order different styles from several brands, for instance.

OTTO said it is beginning to exploit the specific benefit of predictive analytics in returns management – recognising the key causes for returns enables the business to develop counter measures. 

The more assistance a mail order retailer can provide to the customer, the number of items they select per order will be reduced. Features such as virtual fitting rooms and an increase in the number of pictures will also mean customers will make fewer wrong decisions when they are ordering, OTTO said.