Returns Management Network Created

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Newgistics, Inc., Austin, TX, R.R. Donnelley Logistics Services and USF Processors, Dallas, announced a strategic alliance this week that offers direct-to-consumer merchants a customer-friendly and cost-effective product return service.

The service, called ReturnValet, enables catalogers and e-tailers to offer their customers the ability to return merchandise to local neighborhood parcel centers and receive instant credit on the returned goods. ReturnValet also allows for a fully customized returns solution to handle the needs of each merchant.

The main goal of the program is to allow catalogers and e-retailers to offer their customers a positive returns experience, mirroring that of traditional "brick-and-mortar" return procedure. has signed onto use the service, the companies said.

The ReturnValet service combines Newgistics' Web-enabled network of more than 4,000, neighborhood parcel centers; R.R. Donnelley Logistics' nationwide network of vehicles; and USF Processors' more than 80 strategically-located returns management warehouses

When a cataloger signs up for the ReturnValet service, their customers will be able to return a product to a neighborhood postal center where they will receive instant credit and their transaction is complete. Trucks then pick-up several returned items and transport them from neighborhood return centers to regional return centers, which manage the returns process. Depending on what type of arrangements the cataloger has made, the return center will know whether or not the package should be returned to the manufacturer or retailer in bulk, repackaged, returned-to stock, or destroyed or liquidated.

"The reason that we have invested in this partnership is because it reduces the cost of managing returns a lot, especially since we can pick up several returned packages at once instead of just one or two," said Matt Bernstein, vice president, marketing, RR Donnelley Logistics, Chicago. "Shipping a single parcel is by far the most expensive way to transport something."

In addition, Bernstein said, the service "improves the consumer experience significantly, especially at a time when a lot of consumers have said they don't like to make Internet purchases because of the return process. This is the kind of service that's going to drive volume for catalogers and e-retailers."

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