Blair Corp. Chooses Returns Process to Boost Customer Service

Solution from Newgistics to simplify merchandise returns for value conscious customers of direct retailer

Solution from Newgistics to simplify merchandise returns for value conscious customers of direct retailer

Austin, TX — November 23, 2004 — Blair Corp., a direct marketer of fashion apparel for both women and men and a broad range of home products, said this week that it has chosen returns management solutions provider Newgistics to provide an easy and convenient returns process for its catalog and online customers.

Blair will use Newgistics' suite of Intelligent Returns Management (IRM) services, including its newly released Returns Marketing service. Newgistics' Returns Marketing service includes returns-triggered marketing programs so users can enhance communication with the customer through tailored customer outreach tied to returns.

Blair is one of the nation's first direct retailers, and is currently ranked as the eighth largest consumer apparel cataloger in the United States. With the SmartLabel solution Blair said its detach the pre-addressed, barcoded SmartLabel from their order summary, affix it to their package and drop it off anywhere in the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) mail stream, including at their home or work.

SmartLabel's barcode then links the package to the customer's invoice and provides package visibility early in the returns process, enabling customer service representatives to proactively address customers' exchange or credit needs. Then Newgistics' Returns Marketing service, Returns Communications, allows Blair to begin a dialog with the customer within days of the customer mailing the return. Returns Communications can be delivered via e-mail or printed postcard.

"At Blair we understand that the merchandise return process is one of the major customer touch-points in the sales cycle. Most of our customers don't want to be bothered with the inconvenience of driving to a drop-off location or waiting in long lines to return merchandise," said Robert Crowley, senior vice president of Marketing Services at Blair Corporation. "By offering them the Intelligent Returns Management solutions, our customers know that any item they order can be returned with ease, and will remember this added convenience when choosing to purchase from Blair in the future."

According to a 2003 Harris poll, 90 percent of survey respondents state that a convenient return policy and process is important to purchase decisions. Ninety-five percent are very likely or somewhat likely to shop with an online or catalog retailer again if the return process is convenient. An intelligent returns process allows retailers to maximize the convenience of returns and communicate in a way that positively impacts satisfaction, loyalty, retention and future buying patterns through the strategic and immediate use of returns information.

Raymond Greer, CEO of Newgistics, commented, "At Newgistics, we believe once the return is initiated, communication with the customer becomes essential to ensuring satisfaction with the completed process. Blair will have immediate access to information about the status of the returning package in order to promptly notify the customer of receipt of the package."