Returning clothes I bought online because they weren’t what I was expecting is one of the few things in this world that really wracks me with guilt, mainly because I start thinking about the damage my returns are causing the planet, all because my lazy ass didn’t want to go to the store.
To give you a better idea of how many of us do this not-very-good thing, returns of clothing in 2020 accounted for 12.2% of the overall $428 billion in returns, according to the National Retail Federation.
Hoping to stave off the financial loss incurred by paying for customers’ complimentary return shipping and repackaging (or trashing) their returned items, Walmart unveiled “Be Your Own Model” last week, a new feature on its app that uses the same algorithms and machine learning models used in topographic maps to allow customers to take a picture of themselves to virtually try on clothes. Walmart claims that Be Your Own Model offers a more realistic try-0n experience that doesn’t look like old-style magazine cutouts. Whether Walmart keeps the pictures customers take of themselves is unclear.