September 14, 2005, 12:00 AM

CWDKids does its homework to cut returns rate

CWDKids finds a way to reduce the number of returns and strengthen relationships with customers in the fickle market of providing apparel and footwear for 3- to 10-year-olds.

 

At Children’s Wear Digest Inc.’s CWDKids.com, which specializes in clothing, footwear and accessories for children aged 3-10, returned merchandise is one of its biggest challenges. But by analyzing returns through an integrated order management and fulfillment system, then taking steps to prevent them, it has reduced the number of returns while building stronger customer relationships, president Jim Klaus tells Internet Retailer.

Children’s Wear Digest, which also operates a catalog and a few outlet stores, does about 40% of its annual sales of about $30 million through its web site, Klaus says. But the web presents a challenge for shoppers, because it can be difficult to determine exactly how well a garment or shoes from different manufacturers will fit a growing child. “Fit is the most important thing, but it’s hard to convey that through the web or catalogs,” Klaus says.

Klaus has found a way to reduce the number of returns by using a web-based and integrated order management and fulfillment system from NewRoads that runs reports on the number of returns and the reasons customers returned merchandise, by specific products and categories. After analyzing that information, the retailer will decide on the appropriate response. If a particular product is getting returned often because the sizing is slightly off, for example, Children’s Wear will prompt online shoppers in product descriptions to order a particular item in a larger or smaller size than their child’s usual size, or it may request a vendor to adjust its own sizing information and product specifications.

By prompting shoppers to adjust size requests for products shown to have high returns for sizing problems, Children’s Wear has reduced its return rate by as much as 50% on some products, Klaus says.

 

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