May 21, 2001, 12:00 AM

Return-to-the-store is creating sales for Eddie Bauer

Spiegel is finding there’s an additional advantage to returning in-store: Customers who take merchandise back to the store often stay and shop.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

As the Internet has matured as a shopping channel, one of the great debates that has arisen is should customers who buy online be allowed to return to the store. More and more retailers are allowing in-store returns because are demanding it. But Spiegel is finding there’s an additional advantage to returning in-store: Customers who take merchandise back to the store often stay and shop, Richard Lauer, president of Speigel’s Disitribution Fulfillment Services subsidiary, told the Jupiter Forum. “The Eddie Bauer stores are seeing some lift from that practice,” he said. “It’s another customer interaction that might lead to another sale.”

One of the early concerns about the return-to-the-store practice was that store managers were getting hit with the return, which harmed their performance because they didn’t an offsetting sale. Lauer said the issue has been dealt with from an accounting point of view and that web returns no longer harm the store.

 

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