Appleseed Selects Solution for Intelligent Customer Returns

AUSTIN, TX-April 12, 2004-Newgistics, Inc., the leader in returns management solutions for direct retailers, today announced that Appleseed's, a leading retailer of classic apparel for mature women throughout the United States, has chosen Newgistics' SmartLabelâ„¢ to provide an easy and convenient returns process for their customers. Newgistics' Intelligent Returns Management solution will manage the entire merchandise return chain for Appleseed's catalog and online brands. Appleseed's apparel includes a full assortment of wardrobe choices for women through catalogs and the Internet, including; fun and comfortable sportswear, versatile career separates, casual wear and special occasion fashions.

Newgistics' SmartLabel enables customers to return merchandise purchased online or through catalogs effortlessly. Customers simply detach the pre-paid, pre-addressed barcoded SmartLabel from their order summary, affix it to their package and drop it off anywhere in the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). SmartLabel's dynamic barcode links the package to the customer's invoice and provides package visibility early in the returns process, enabling customer service representatives to proactively address customers' exchange or credit needs, resulting in increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

"Our customers have come to expect the highest level of service and personal attention," said John Civali, SVP of Operations at Appleseed's. "It is our philosophy that customer care is the key to our loyal customer base and we know that quality service doesn't stop once the merchandise is purchased and has been delivered. Through the use of Newgistics' SmartLabel, we can continue to provide high-touch customer service beyond the sale. By reducing the hassles typically associated with returns, SmartLabel increases the level of comfort customers feel in purchasing through our catalogs."

"From a customer service standpoint, the implementation has been great," said Margaret Donahue, director, Appleseed's call center. "SmartLabel has been so well-received with both our customers and our employees, some of which are huge catalog shoppers themselves. As a merchant, I need to think about the best returns process for my customers. As a consumer, I want an easy returns process and Newgistics provides the best there is."

According to a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by Newgistics, an easy and convenient returns process heavily impacts customer loyalty. Ninety percent of survey respondents stated that a convenient return policy and process is important in regards to their purchasing decisions and 95 percent reported being likely to shop with an online or catalog retailer again if the return process is convenient. In addition, 85 percent of consumers stated they are not likely to shop online or through catalogs with a retailer that has an inconvenient return process.

"Appleseed's customers are loyal to the brand because of the efforts the company has made in providing quality customer service from beginning to end," said Raymond B. Greer, president and CEO at Newgistics. "Newgistics' SmartLabel serves to drive customer loyalty throughout the purchase lifecycle by offering the easiest-to-use, most convenient returns management solution available, which Appleseed's customers appreciate."

Newgistics' SmartLabel solution enables retailers to streamline the entire product returns cycle to help them gain operational efficiencies, drive customer loyalty and increase profitability. Typically, retailers see a 70 percent usage rate of the SmartLabel solution within 8 weeks of launch.

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