August 11, 2004, 12:00 AM

Neiman Marcus cuts a day and a half from time-to-return with Newgistics

Since going with returns services from Newgistics, Neiman Marcus’s direct-to-consumer business has trimmed an average five days to receive and process returns to 3.7. This fall it will test Newgistics in its New York Bergdorf Goodman store.

Since going fully operational with outsourced returns services from Newgistics Inc. in July 2003, Neiman Marcus Group Inc.’s direct-to-consumer business has shaved nearly one and a half days off the average five days it had been taking the retailer – once the customer had initiated shipment – to receive and make a disposition of returned items, Greg Shields, vice president of operations at Neiman Marcus Direct, tells Internet Retailer.

"The packages come back to us very quickly," says Shields. "Because Newgistics extracts the packages (from regional shipping centers) and consolidates them, the average time it takes from the time a package is inducted into their system is about 3.7 days." Neiman Marcus is No. 38 in Internet Retailer’sTop 300 Guide to online retailers.

Of the items that are eligible for return via Newgistics` program, customers are choosing to use the service about 90% of the time, he adds. Newgistics’ system provides a pre-addressed, bar-coded label that arrives with the outbound package sent to the customer. If the item is returned, the customer simply closes the package, applies the pre-addressed label to the front, and drops it in the mail. The cost of return shipment is debited from the credit issued to the customer for the returned merchandise. Some items are not eligible for return via the Newgistics system because of size and weight limitations, Shields says.

While Neiman Marcus currently uses the Newgistics service only in its direct-to-consumer business, the company is about to test the program in its New York Bergdorf Goodman store, which gets many of its returns through the mail rather than in-store because many store customers are visiting from out of town, Shields says. The test will include a Newgistics label on any package shipped out to a customer who purchased it in-store, as well as make Newgistics labels available in-store to customers.


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