Amazon is working on a solution to undesirable holiday gifts.
The online retailer recently patented a process that would allow gift recipients to return bad gifts before they are even shipped. Amazon’s new tool would allow users to set up parameters specifying which gift givers need supervision while shopping for them. The process would allow users to, quote, “convert all gifts from Aunt Mildred to gift certificates.” Users will also be able to set up rules for what gifts are appropriate for them, specifying, for example, “no clothes with wool.” Amazon has not yet announced a release date for the new tool, but technology analysts say it could save retailers a pretty penny in reshipping and restocking costs. Carl Howe of Yankee Group tells the “Washington Post” that returned gifts cost online retailers up to millions of dollars, and any process that allows gift-givers to give the right gift the first time is, quote, “a huge cost-saving invention.”