Benchmark Brands Steps-Up to the Reverse Logistics Challenge with Newgistics

Kurt Peters

Top Retailer of Comfort Shoes and Lower Body Healthcare Products Selects Newgistics SmartLabel to Streamline Returns Processing

AUSTIN, TX-June 5, 2006-Newgistics, Inc., the leader in returns management solutions for direct retailers, today announced that Benchmark Brands, the largest direct-to-consumer retailer of lower body healthcare and comfort products, has selected Newgistics` Inte lligent Returns Management Suite to simplify the returns management process. Benchmark Brands is confident that using Newgistics` SmartLabel solution will help boost customer loyalty, increase profitability, and streamline returns processing throughout the company`s distribution network.

Founded in 1989, Benchmark Brands manufactures its own proprietary lower body healthcare products and retails select, high-quality items that meet the company`s goal of encouraging lower body wellness and comfort. The retailer`s product offerings are distributed through its two brands, FootSmart® and WalkSmart®, and include healthcare products as well as comfort shoes, sandals, slippers, socks and hosiery-all of which, due to sizing issues, can be prone to returns and exchanges. Recognizing that the returns process is an inevitable part of online/catalog shopping, Benchmark Brands wants to ensure that customer satisfaction remains high, even during the return process. Company executives know that in order to fulfill its customer commitment to service, it needs to incre ase the quality and quantity of available information about each incoming package. By doing this, Benchmark Brands can better prepare for staffing and storage space issues. By employing SmartLabel, Benchmark Brands enlisted the expertise of Newgistics to make returns more convenient for their customers, and to eliminate operational inefficiencies caused by a lack of insight into the reverse logistics process.

"We are a company founded on a strong belief in customer service, so we are always looking for ways to bring the shopping experience one step closer to perfection," said Alan Beychok, president of Benchmark Brands. "We recognize that for our customers, returning merchandise is as important to the overall shopping experience as making the original purchase, and therefore should be just as convenient. We are pleased to make the returns process more efficient with Newgistics SmartLabel."

After a rapid and seamless implementation of Newgistics` SmartLabel, Benchmark Brands is enjoying immediate results. Customers are able to easily return merchandise without concerns about postage or labeling. Newgistics enables Benchmark Brands` shoppers to save time when sending merchandise back to the retailer by simply detaching the pre-addressed, bar-coded SmartLabel from their order summary, affixing it to their package, and dropping it off anywhere in the U.S. Postal Service system, including their ho me or office. Newgistics intercepts the package, scans the SmartLabel bar-code, and provides Benchmark Brands with important details about what is being returned, including customer and tracking information. As expected, this new level of visibility enables Benchmark Brands to anticipate workloads and better plan for staffing and storage needs.

"With the decision to implement Newgistics` returns management solution, Benchmark Brands demonstrated a true commitment to its customers," said Bill Razzouk, CEO of Newgistics. "Ultimately, we hope that SmartLabel will encourage Benchmark Brands` new and returning customers alike to purchase from the Web site with more confidence, knowing that they won`t be faced with an inconvenient process if the item needs to be returned. We look forward to working with Benchmark Brands to increase customer satisfaction as well as operational efficiency."

According to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive in December 2005 and commissioned by Newgistics, an easy and convenient returns process heavily impacts customer loyalty. Ninety-two percent of consumers surveyed reported being likely to shop with an online or catalog retailer again if the return process is convenient. In the same survey, 82 percent of consumers stated they would not be likely to shop again with a catalog or online retailer that has an inconvenient return process.

About Newgistics SmartLabel®
With Newgistics SmartLabel®, Benchmark Brands` customers and customer service representatives (CSRs) can access SmartLabel via a link from Benchmark Brands` Web site to proactively manage the returns process. Here, both consumers and CSRs can dynamically create and print a pre-paid, pre-addressed SmartLabel, affix it to their package, and drop it off anywhere in the U.S. Postal Service system, including their home or office. Newgistics intercepts the package, scans the SmartLabel bar-code, and provides Benchmark Brands with important details about what is being returned and tracking information.

About Newgistics
Newgistics, Inc. (www.newgistics.com) is the leader in returns management solutions. Newgistics` patent-pending Intelligent Returns Management(SM) solution delivers the most convenience for customers while maximizing control of the returns process for retailers. Newgistics` SmartLabel® drives customer loyalty and increases profitability for leading retailers like Neiman Marcus, J.Crew and Abercrombie & Fitch.

About Benchmark Brands
Founded in 1989 on the belief that a great feeling body starts with comfortable and healthy feet, Benchmark Brands is dedicated to being the leading direct-to-consumer healthcare products manufacturer and marketing company. The company manufactures and sources hundreds of lower body health care products, as well as comfort shoes, slippers, sandals and hosiery. Benchmark Brands distributes some 50,000,000 catalogs per year through its FootSmart and WalkSmart brand names, and has more than 600,000 unique visitors a month to its websites, www.footsmart.com and www.walksmart.com - qualifying Benchmark Brands as the Internet`s 216 largest online merchant according to Inte rnet Retailer.

Benchmark Brands is headquartered in Norcross, GA and maintains its distribution facility in Memphis, TN. FootSmart® and WalkSmart® are registered trademarks of Benchmark Brands. For more information visit: www.BenchmarkBrands.com.

For more information, please contact:
Jonathan Dampier
Newgistics, Inc.
Phone: (512) 225-6040
e-mail: jdampier@newgistics.com

Ayanna Anderson or Christine McKeown
Schwartz Communications, Inc.
Phone: (415) 512-0770
e-mail: newgistics@schwartz-pr.com


Brand, Electronic commerce, Product, Product management, Returning