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Strategic alliance comes on the heels of the annual peak in post-holiday retail return season to help retailers easily scale to efficiently meet growing returns demand while reducing costs

Optoro, Inc., the leading technology platform for retail returns and reverse logistics, and Locus Robotics, the leader in autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) for fulfillment warehouses and distribution centers, announce a strategic partnership to provide a fully integrated, robust, and highly scalable software and robotics automation solution for high-volume retail ecommerce returns processing.

Optoro’s returns technology platform seamlessly integrates with Locus’s industry-leading autonomous mobile robotics (AMR) solution to turn order returns – whose numbers typically increase substantially during the holiday season – into a strategic advantage. By using data science and real-time decision-making automation to determine the best path for each returned item, the technology-powered returns solutions can improve efficiency, maximize repurchases and recovery, reduce labor costs, and reduce environmental waste – allowing retailers to focus on forward fulfillment while offering the best customer experience.

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“Partnering with Locus enables us to deliver a proven robotics automation solution that is well positioned to meet the high throughput demands of today’s return centers,” said Amena Ali, Chief Executive Officer at Optoro. “Together, we can help retailers move inventory faster and more efficiently through the supply chain, cut costs, minimize their environmental impact, and improve the customer experience.”

Locus’s industry-leading robotics automation solution enables operators to easily manage large-scale AMR fleets to speed up returns processing, minimize restocking challenges, and lower labor costs by seamlessly scaling up and down whenever demand changes. The Locus solution delivers enterprise-level, large scale ecommerce automation that is ideal for high throughput, 24/7 operations, deployed in both single-level and multi-level mezzanine environments.

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“Returns and reverse logistics have historically been high-volume, high-cost functions that are typically quite complicated. We believe our partnership with Optoro will provide 3PLs, retailers, warehouse operators, and others a repeatable, efficient, and proven solution,” said Al Dekin, chief revenue officer at Locus Robotics. “During the recent peak season, Locus had several sites operating more than 500 LocusBots apiece, and dozens of others with more than 100 bots each. Our experience and success in deploying large fleets not only instills the confidence our customers require, but the speed at which we can deploy is equally critical.”

As ecommerce keeps growing, increased order volumes mean a corresponding increase in returns. According to the National Retail Federation, US retail returns totaled $816B in 2022, with ecommerce returns totaling $212B, both more than doubled their totals from 2019. From product returns to refurbishment and repairs, to recycling of packaged materials, and disposing of end-of-life products, reverse logistics involves many areas across the organization, including returns management, sales, finance, warehousing, logistics, recycling management, and environmental compliance. It is also a critical element of the customer experience.

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