Brands can now give shoppers an 'Uber-style rating' - and block people for too many returns

Brands can now give shoppers an 'Uber-style rating' - and block people for too many returns



E-commerce companies are getting a new tool to track and punish shoppers who are suspected of abusing return policies.

The tool is part of MyVerte, an online marketplace for direct-to-consumer companies designed by the Atlanta-based technology firm Project Verte. MyVerte is launching Monday with more than 100 brands.

For consumers, the MyVerte marketplace will serve as a site to discover new e-commerce brands.

For brands, it will provide access to a host of tools, including fulfillment services, inventory financing, and an "Uber-style ratings feature" that allows brands to rate shoppers on a scale of one to five stars based on their return behavior, according to Project Verte founder and CEO Julian Kahlon.


The ratings tool will also allow brands to block serial returners from purchasing - or even browsing - their products on the marketplace, Kahlon said.

Here's how the ratings system works: if a customer returns too many items, their ratings will fall. Brands will be able to view customers' ratings and block all shoppers whose scores fall below a certain level. Brands that don't want to deal with any returns, for example, may choose to block all shoppers with ratings of four stars or below.

Read more: Amazon isn't alone in punishing shoppers for too many returns - these are all the companies that track your returns

If a shopper with a four-star rating logs onto the MyVerte marketplace, they will only see items from brands that accept their consumer rating.

Kahlon said he hoped the tool would not only give brands the power to disengage with serial returners, but also allow them to identify and reward highly rated shoppers.


"Our goal in founding Project Verte was to give direct-to-consumer brands the ability to reclaim control, and get the optimization and insights that they need to grow their businesses, increase their bottom line, while at the same time staying true to their core values," he said.

Tracking return activity has become an increasingly popular practice in the retail industry. Returns cost US retailers an estimated $369 billion in lost sales last year, according to a report by Appriss Retail.

Amazon, Best Buy, Home Depot, and Victoria's Secret are among the major retailers that have engaged in this practice.

Some of these companies have hired The Retail Equation, a third-party firm owned by Appriss Retail, to mine their sales data and keep a database of customers' returns to flag potentially problematic shoppers. Customers who are flagged are often barred from making future returns.

MyVerte is designed to bring this level of control over return activity to direct-to-consumer brands.


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