Newgistics Inc., a provider of returns management solutions for multichannel retailers, today introduces SmartLabel Returns Center. It lets customers returning merchandise create SmartLabels and track the status of their return online.
The service includes a prepaid, preaddressed return shipping label on the customer's packing slip received with the merchandise. SmartLabel's barcode links the package to the customer's invoice and will provide package visibility back to the retailer early in the returns process.
Retailers typically see a 70 percent use rate of SmartLabel within eight weeks of launch, said Newgistics, Austin, TX. Retailers such as Neiman Marcus, J. Crew, Eddie Bauer and Abercrombie & Fitch use SmartLabel.
Newgistics said SmartLabel Returns Center reduces call volume to customer support centers. Customers using the service visit the retailer's Web site and navigate to the “returns” area. The customer can create a new SmartLabel or track an existing return. Newgistics processes the SmartLabel or tracking request and sends the information to the customer. Customers affix the barcoded SmartLabel to their package and drop it off anywhere in the U.S. Postal Service system.
SmartLabel's tracking function lets customers track their package through the Newgistics return network and find out when they will be credited for the returned merchandise. Customers can opt in to get an e-mail to learn when the package is delivered to the retailer. The average return is credited within six to seven days.
For consumers who prefer the call center, a retailer's customer service agent can log into the system and request an e-mail or postcard return status notification on behalf of customers.
Newgistics said that for many consumers, a convenient returns process is critical in their decision to shop direct. In a 2003 survey conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by Newgistics, 90 percent said a convenient return policy and process is important to their purchasing decisions, and 95 percent reported being likely to shop with an online or catalog retailer again if the return process is convenient. And 85 percent said they would be unlikely to shop online or through catalogs with a retailer that has an inconvenient return process.