In response to numerous studies which confirm e-commerce and multi-channel consumers want an easy return method, fast credit, and local face-to-face service, supply chain management company Newgistics Inc has launched ReturnValet, its returns management solution for multi-channel retailers.
The ReturnValet service is being launched in five major metropolitan areas, including New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth and Atlanta. It offers catalogue and Internet consumers a physical location to hand off returns, a receipt and fast, professional service.

Product returns in the catalogue and Internet retail industry can total between five and 25 per cent of sales, depending on the type of items sold. This equates to more than $10 billion in costs to process those returns, according to Forrester Research. 

In preparation for a phased roll-out, The Spiegel Group's Eddie Bauer, Spiegel and Newport News companies are conducting an operational test of the facility. Their customers can return items to a participating mail and parcel centre in a selected neighborhood, and the service will be available nationwide in early 2002.

"Customers expectations for service don't diminish in the returns process. In fact, how returns are handled will colour a customer's view of the entire company,'' said CJ 'Gabe' Gabriel, CEO and president of Newgistics. "That's why companies like The Spiegel Group are raising the bar on customer service with an additional product returns option to keep customers satisfied and loyal."

Another consumer option with ReturnValet is called Quick Label, a pre-paid, pre-addressed label that comes in the customers' original package. Quick Label allows consumers to place the parcel directly into the US Postal system. It was introduced in California on 1 November and will launch nationally with participating retailers in early 2002.