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UPS Takes a Stake in Retail Returns Specialist Optoro – WSJ.

United Parcel Service Inc. is investing in a logistics provider that helps companies take back and resell returned merchandise, an increasingly costly burden for retailers as more consumers take their shopping online.

Optoro Inc. makes software that sorts and analyzes unwanted merchandise, then routes it to online marketplaces and other channels using the company’s algorithms to determine where retailers will get the most money back.

UPS, which is joining several other existing and new investors in a $30 million Series D funding round, declined to say how much it will invest. Other participants in the funding round are Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Revolution Growth, Generation Investment Management LLP, Tenfore Holdings, Swan & Legend Venture Partners and the Maryland Venture Fund.

Optoro declined to disclose its valuation. The company has raised $119.2 million in five rounds of funding.

Read more.

Returns are a really interesting and complicated aspect of e-commerce as we know it. Along with being yet another aspect of creating a positive customer experience, they provide a unique opportunity to reflect on the efficacy of the entire operation, often reaching all the way back through the supply chain. Any new operation can look to their returns process for all sorts of opportunities for measurement and improvement. Or at least UPS seems to think so.