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06/14/2022

Women’s specialty apparel retailer reduces returns with AI

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Title Nine is tacking the issue of returns with advanced technology.

Title Nine is significantly cutting return rates with cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

The Northern California-based retailer, which sells a curated assortment of outdoor apparel for women, utilizes the AI-based Newmine Chief Returns Officer SaaS solution to manage returns across the enterprise. Between 2019-2021, Title Nine drove an aggregate 18% reduction in returns.

The retailer has achieved lower return rates in 90% of its product categories, while simultaneously increasing sales. In addition, by enabling Title Nine to shift from manual to automated returns management, Chief Returns Officer has also allowed the company to decrease in the amount of time it takes for employees to get access to the data they need to analyze returns and apply that to the business by 90%.

Now, Title Nine can analyze returns at the item level, drilling down into explicit details by product across thousands of SKUs and line items. The company can also search for information across disparate systems to obtain a full picture and true understanding of what’s driving a return.

Title Nine also leverages the solution’s watch list feature and dashboards to monitor and manage its day-to-day operations.As a result, Title Nine can now address upstream issues that cause returns while in-season. 

Retail returns jump to over $750 billion
Title Nine is streamlining its returns management operation as the industry is seeing general returns growth coinciding with rising online sales. According to a recent survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Appriss Retail, retailers expect more than $761 billion in merchandise sold in 2021 to be returned.

This accounts for an average of 16.6% of total U.S. retail sales, compared to 10.6% in 2020. According to the survey, for every $1 billion in sales, the average retailer incurs $166 million in merchandise returns. It also found that for every $100 in returned merchandise accepted, retailers lose $10.30 to return fraud.

“Returns are really the most expensive and time-consuming element of the entire life cycle of product and retail,” said Chrissy Ginieczki, COO at Title Nine. “If you’re interested in profitability, returns reduction needs to be a top priority.”

“The Chief Returns Officer tool created by Newmine should really be called 'Chief Profit Officer' because it can be utilized in so many more ways than just returns,” said Title Nine president Johnny Lin. "I know 'game-changing' tools are touted all the time, but this one is the real deal.”

“As an early adopter of Chief Returns Officer, Title Nine really embodies their own value and mindset of innovation,” says Navjit Bhasin, CEO and founder of Newmine. “At a time when few retailers were talking meaningfully about reducing returns, they saw the opportunity to be on the leading edge of innovation and we're proud to have helped them achieve incredible results.”

Founded in 1989 as a women’s outdoor performance wear company, today Title Nine is a woman-owned retailer operating 17 stores in eight states and an e-commerce site.