From:                  Anne Potts [apotts@extraprise.com]
                       Sent:       Monday, December 18, 2000 4:3...
Advice for This Year's Online Shoppers
Extraprise sees several trends in this year's survey:

· When sorting out returns i...
Extraprise labeled Barnes and Noble as "didn't get it" in the 1999 study. In addition to landing
among the Top 10 of the N...
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Writing Sample: E-Returns Pitch Release

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This is a news release and accompanying pitch sample for a campaign I worked on while with Extraprise. We created a study that looked at return policies of online retailers in the first Christmas that people were buying online. We had tremendous media response, including from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Associated Press and MSNBC.

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Writing Sample: E-Returns Pitch Release

  1. 1. From: Anne Potts [apotts@extraprise.com] Sent: Monday, December 18, 2000 4:39 PM To: linda_himelstein@businessweek.com Subject: E-Returns 2000: What can online shoppers expect this year? Linda: My company, Extraprise, has issued a study of the online returns policies of the Top 50 online retailers. "E-Returns in Season 2000," is a second-annual research project that foretells what January will hold for the online shopper looking to make a merchandise return or exchange. I hope this research might help you with a story you're writing or planning to write. Extraprise offers a caution to this year's online buyer: Caveat Dator, or "giver beware." By this we mean that it may seem easy to buy online, but when you have to exchange that toy or return the sweater, do shoppers realize what they'll be up against? Our analysts are able to: · advise online shoppers on how to identify which online retailers are likely to provide the best e- returns service · offer a report card of the leaders and laggarts in this area · talk to the pitfalls and advantages of the dot.com and click-and-mortar business model · speak to the policies of these 50 sites, and · describe how this year's landscape differs from 1999 I've attached our press release and would be happy to send you a copy of the study. Please contact me by phone at 617 880 4176 or by reply email. Happy Holidays. Anne Potts, Extraprise **************************************************************************** For Immediate Release ONLINE HOLIDAY SHOPPERS: DO YOU KNOW WHERE AND WHAT YOUR RETURNS POLICY IS? Extraprise Warns Caveat Dator...Giver Beware Boston, Mass - December 18, 2000 - Extraprise, a leading e-services consulting firm, today released the findings of its annual research project with a report titled, "E-Returns in Season 2000." This research surveyed merchandise returns policies of 50 leading online retailing sites as an indicator of the level of customer service provided by these retailers. According to Extraprise, most online retailers are still missing the mark in customer support. Key Findings · 48% do not explicitly assign responsibility for the cost of returning defective goods or inaccurate shipments. · 69% of the Web sites operated by the Top 50 online retailers do not have a provision for shoppers to return goods to a brick-and-mortar location. · 77% do not have a link to the company's returns policy from the homepage. · 53% do not provide a phone number on the returns page for shoppers' returns-related inquiries.
  2. 2. Advice for This Year's Online Shoppers Extraprise sees several trends in this year's survey: · When sorting out returns issues, many consumers seeking assistance will not find easy to go "offline" to a live person. Half of the shopping sites surveyed provide no customer service phone number on their returns pages. · Do you know whether you are responsible for shipping costs on returns of defective or incorrectly shipped goods? Half of the Top 50 sites do not explicitly state their policies, forcing the consumer to make the inquiry before the purchase or run the risk of paying unwanted fees later. · Shoppers should keep an eye out for a lack of standard returns policies posted on portal sites such as Yahoo!, AOL, MSN or Price Watch Group. "We have created a new warning for shoppers this year: Caveat Dator, or 'giver beware,'" said analyst John Roynon of Extraprise. "If the sweater you buy from a dot.com retailer doesn't fit Uncle Herbert, getting him the right size will cost you. Even with the online retailers we consider to be strong on service, shipping fees can add up -- it's the nature of their business. We see this as a major downside to dealing with a dot.com retailer without a brick-and-mortar storefront to accept returns." The Report Card Among the 50 Web sites surveyed, Extraprise has identified those online retailers that offer the consumer the best returns experience and those that are missing this customer relationship builder. Extraprise has found that Eddie Bauer, Old Navy, Baby Center and eToys provided the best combination of accessible returns information, brick-and-mortar returns locations and access to live assistance with returns issues. Yahoo!, PriceWatch Group and abc distributing, based on study results, fared the worst. These sites do not provide clear access to returns information, forcing the shopper to sleuth out the returns process. "Online retailing has come a long way since last year, but online retailers are still missing it when it comes to customer service. There is no excuse for companies that fail to provide a clear online link to a returns policy or a phone number to call with any questions - these are key elements of a customer relationship, and missing that link to the customer is a big mistake," said program manager David Hybels of Extraprise. A Look Back to 1999 With the consolidation of the dot.com sector, the online retailing industry has taken a new direction. Today, nearly half of the Top 50 sites have a direct marketing history, and two-thirds are click and mortar companies. "After last year's holiday season, where companies were under fire for missing deliveries, the focus is on getting the first half of the transaction 'right.' We believe that the bar will be set even higher this year, and that companies need to look at the entire transaction, which ends only when the customer is satisfied," added Hybels. "Winners" identified in last year's Extraprise study, "The Season of Returns": J Crew, The Gap, LL Bean, Land's End, Staples, Amazon and Drugstore.com, all appear in the NRF Top 50 Internet Retailers list.
  3. 3. Extraprise labeled Barnes and Noble as "didn't get it" in the 1999 study. In addition to landing among the Top 10 of the NRF's list, Extraprise found that Barnes and Noble has dramatically improved its approach to returns in the past year. Now operating both its online and offline businesses as an integrated model, shoppers are able to return online purchases to any Barnes and Noble store, and also check the Barnes and Noble site from in-store kiosks. Scope of research For this study, Extraprise surveyed the returns policies of the Top 50 Internet retailers as ranked by the National Retail Federation in September 2000. Considered were the ease with which an online shopper can find a returns policy and whether the shopper was clearly provided with an additional communications channel, such as a phone number, to use in addressing any returns- related concerns. The report includes detailed coverage of each of the Top 50 online retailers' returns policies. For a copy of "E-Returns in Season 2000," or to learn more about Extraprise's advisory and research services, please call David Winterhalter at 617 880 4017. ### About Extraprise Extraprise is an international e-services firm that empowers clients with innovative growth strategies that span online and offline channels. The company delivers strategy, creative and technology solutions to major corporations worldwide. Extraprise has its headquarters in Boston, with offices in Amsterdam, Chicago, Dallas, London, New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC. Extraprise is on the Web at www.extraprise.com. Extraprise is a registered trademark of Extraprise Group, Inc. For further details please contact: Anne Potts, Extraprise Public Relations 617 880 4176 apotts@extraprise.com

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