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How Retailers Can Optimize Profits Through an Elevated Returns Management Processes

How Retailers Can Optimize Profits Through an Elevated Returns Management Processes

With the recent surge in online shopping and more generous return policies offered by retailers, returns are on the rise. Often, customers are given a prepaid label and free return shipping, which significantly increases return rates. While returns are just a cost of business, according to the National Retail Federation, U.S. consumers returned approximately $428 billion in merchandise to retailers in 2020. Online return rates are nearly double, making up an estimated 18.1 percent of total U.S. retail sales.

Returns are costly for various reasons. Some returns are fraudulent, and the returns process puts customer retention on the line. The harder or more costly the return, the less likely they are to shop with you again. Physically sorting and processing returns is also costly, as a large number of returned merchandise can no longer be resold at full price. While merchandise is awaiting return, it is off the sales floor, potentially for weeks at a time. The environmental costs of returns are also prevalent. In 2020, returned merchandise created 5.8 billion pounds of landfill waste and massive amounts of carbon emissions.

So how can returns be mitigated and reduce their many costs on the retailer?

Data is essential to mitigating the cost of returns. A software solution that provides real-time data and visibility can help identify demand for different styles or products and lower shipping costs. Having more accurate returns data, like where returns are being placed, these items can be routed to more efficient destinations.

Another way retailers can mitigate returns is with more accurate and detailed product images, fit data, and measurements online. Sizing charts help customers see a more detailed and measured representation of the product and can mitigate many fit issues, reducing return and cart abandonment rates. Return reason codes (“too small”, “too big”, etc.) can be provided to give the retailer a reason to why an item did not work, and this data can be used to make product improvements that prevent more returns in the future.

Automating the returns process using technology like an ERP allows companies to analyze the reasons for returns, make more educated product decisions, and overall create a more efficient supply chain. Using an ERP system with a returns app integration like Exenta ERP allows for retailers to have more accurate returns reporting and insight. Integrating returns with ERP and warehouse, companies can use real-time information to calculate stage requirements. Having a more cohesive, efficient system using a software solution can improve the customer service experience. A strong ERP system with returns integration triggers a notification when the return is scanned in the warehouse to issue the refund, reducing time-consuming manual entry and providing the customer with their money back quickly.

Exenta client Veronica Beard uses Exenta ERP and the returns platform Returnly. “Exenta is integrated seamlessly with Returnly so we can get inbound returns information to our 3PL to receive against,” says Marc Ianotta, vice president of operations for Veronica Beard. “with Exenta we know once the warehouse checks something in it puts goods back to stock. That inventory is now available to be purchased online or through our stores via our omnichannel systems.”

To learn more about mitigating the costs of returns and how Veronica Beard found success using an advanced software solution, read our white paper: Reversing Reverse Logistics.

Interested in learning more about how an industry specific ERP can benefit your home fashion or apparel business? Request a demo today to learn how Exenta’s ERP solution can help your company streamline returns and other processes!

Request a Demo Today

Exenta and Grand Forest, a Partnership with One Goal in Mind: Success

Exenta and Grand Forest, a Partnership with One Goal in Mind: Success

Grand Forest, a client of Exenta’s since 2016, is a premier manufacturer of chainsaw protective clothing and distributor of quality outdoor brands. Before becoming an Exenta client, Grand Forest utilized an older Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and a Time and Attendance package to track labor rates. Because the ERP was a standalone system, data had to be integrated manually, a tedious and time-consuming process. We spoke with Grand Forest’s CEO Carrie Bovender recently to understand how the company utilized the previous systems and to learn how implementing Exenta software created greater visibility and saved valuable time not only on the shop floor, but throughout the entire organization.

Before Exenta, Grand Forest struggled with two standalone systems that forced employees to waste their time with manual data entry, ticket scanning, and tracking for incentive pay. After dealing with these issues for a period of time, Grand Forest decided to make a change and selected Exenta ERP and Shop Floor Control (SFC). We provided a fully integrated system, which, according to Bovender allowed the company to “get goods to [their] customers more quickly, because [they knew] when something was available to be shipped as soon as possible”. This enormous increase in efficiency (nearly 80%) has freed up essential time for their employees across the board.

Bovender explains how Grand Forest sees Exenta as a “true partner”, and we feel the same way! Click here to read more about Exenta and Grand Forest’s partnership through the implementation of our state-of-the-art apparel and soft goods manufacturing software.

Case Study: Exenta ERP Solution Improves Efficiency And Accuracy Throughout MindsInSync, A Leader In Home Décor Solutions

Case Study: Exenta ERP Solution Improves Efficiency And Accuracy Throughout MindsInSync, A Leader In Home Décor Solutions

In these uncertain times, many companies are looking to cut cost and increase efficiency, and the apparel and home goods industries are no different. The right Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system allows companies to gain better insight into day-to-day operations as well as increase productivity and efficiency. This can lead to better business decisions and increased profitability, which is always important, even more so surrounding the current COVID-19 pandemic.

IAIN SCORGIE, CEO and Founder, MindsInSync

Recently we conducted a case study with our client MindsInSync, a leader in home décor solutions for the kitchen bath and bedroom. CEO and one of three cofounder, Iain Scorige noticed his company was growing too rapidly for it’s outdated business systems. Their accounting and outsourced Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) systems were not meeting the transaction processing demands of their newest and largest trading partner at the time, Bed Bath & Beyond. The executive team wanted to add more large retailers as customers, so it was time to invest in an ERP system with built-in EDI. MindsInSync selected Exenta ERP-a solution designed by fashion industry insiders for the unique transactional requirements of apparel and soft goods manufacturers.


Overall, Exenta ERP helped the company improve efficiency and accuracy throughout its operations, while lowering workforce costs and reducing chargebacks. Many of those benefits were the direct result of fully automating the EDI process in order to eliminate duplicate data entry and gain real-time data analysis. As the timesaving’s and efficiency of automation kicked into high gear, MindsInSync began to acquire major retail accounts rapidly. In a relatively small time span, they opened new lines of business with many major mass-market retailers. Revenue skyrocketed, yet their streamlined process enabled MindsInSync to handle the rapid growth without expanding the staff.


Thanks to Exenta ERP, the MindsInSync team spends less time bogged down in operational analysis, leaving more time to innovate new products and make strategic moves. You can read more on MindsInSync’s successful implementation of Exenta ERP in their case study linked below. Can your company afford more time with the wrong ERP?

Click here to read the full case study, including specific data on reductions in chargebacks, overhead and transaction processing costs.

In times of uncertainty, improving the efficiency and accuracy of your operations can help your company be successful. Request a software demonstration today to learn how to increase profitability and streamlines processes with our ERP System.

Request a Demo Today!

Risky Resource Planning: Dangers of Using an ERP Not Specific to Your Industry

Does it matter whether your organization’s ERP is specifically designed for your industry? For home goods and fashion brands, the answer is: YES, it matters.

Could Your Legacy ERP Be THE One Thing Standing Between Your Organization and Your Goals?

The right ERP should help your company drive business goals for growth, workforce productivity, profitability, and customer relationships—not impede those goals.

How Exenta Client Klear Vu Adapted Its Innovative Manufacturing Process to Produce Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

How Exenta Client Klear Vu Adapted Its Innovative Manufacturing Process to Produce Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The fashion, beauty and home goods segments of our economy have an unprecedented opportunity to be heroes in a time of national crisis. Amid stories of luxury perfumeries shifting production to make hand sanitizer and apparel companies donating scrubs to healthcare workers, Exenta would like to recognize our clients, who are stepping forward in inventive ways to support the community by manufacturing PPE in this unprecedented time of need.

This is the first in a series highlighting our clients, their creativity and generosity. If you have a story to share, please contact us.

Klear Vu’s History of Innovation

Since 1927, Klear Vu has been known for consistent quality, on-trend fashion, technical innovation, and on-time delivery. Known for several patented products: The Gripper®, Spill Guard® and Delightfil®. Based in Fall River, Massachusetts, Klear Vu designs a variety of chair cushions and pillows distributed through major US retailers including Walmart, Amazon, Kohl’s and Bed, Bath and Beyond. Klear Vu is an industry leader in technical innovation, committed to developing products that meet its consumer’s complex needs. The company has been an Exenta ERP customer for over three years and we recently had an opportunity to speak to Ben Cooper, President of Klear Vu.

Meeting Community Need Through Innovative Manufacturing

When Cooper noticed a decline in customer orders due to retail closures amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he saw an opportunity to draw on his organization’s key values: a passion for innovation and a commitment to support its community. Instead of closing his factory, Cooper led an initiative to retool production in its factory to manufacture PPE, specifically washable protective masks for use by members of at-risk communities.

“We recognized a huge need for protective equipment for vulnerable populations,” said Cooper.

The Klear Vu team quickly got to work adapting its design and manufacturing capabilities to produce washable protective masks. After a few, short design iteration cycles, Klear Vu landed on one that leveraged the sewing techniques used in the manufacture of its popular cushions.

In just two days, the company produced over 1000 masks and expects to have many thousands available in the coming weeks. The first recipients of donated masks were a local nursing home, the Fall River Fire Department and the Diocesan Health Facilities.

Klear Vu is aware of considerable demand in the community and aims to support it. “We wanted a PPE design that would be efficient to manufacture, so that we can produce as many as possible in a short timeframe, while still maintaining processes to keep our employees safe and healthy,” Cooper shared.

The company’s 170,000 square foot facility is being disinfected regularly, and teams are observing appropriate distancing guidelines and utilizing special handwashing stations set up due to the pandemic. Cooper shared that it’s wonderful to see how Klear Vu employees have come together to help the community.

“We are grateful that we could look to our history of innovation to develop a homegrown solution to address a community crisis,” concluded Cooper.

Exenta is proud to partner with Klear Vu. In a time of uncertainty and crisis, focusing on what your organization does best and how it can make those competencies relevant is a hallmark of true innovation.

If you are considering making a shift to manufacture PPE, #StoptheSpread is a collective of American CEOs working to help companies shift production to meet critical needs for PPE. Learn more at #StoptheSpread.

If you are interested in giving back to the community by producing PPE, learn how Exenta’s solution software has helped clients make the shift.

Contact Us Today!

How Supply Chain Technology Can Help You Navigate Coronavirus Disruptions

While the pandemic will inevitably have some negative impacts on business, companies can take advantage of supply chain technology to companies forecast supply chain impacts and making contingency plans.

COVID-19 Resources for Fashion and Sewn Goods

As we all begin to look forward to some gradual return to a new type of normalcy and navigate a way back to the businesses we love, Exenta has curated a selection of resources on topics of relevance to our industry.

Consumer Omnichannel Expectations Are Shaping Fashion and Soft Goods Technology Needs

Consumer Omnichannel Expectations Are Shaping Fashion and Soft Goods Technology Needs

Customer experience drives fashion and soft goods sales. Whether shopping online, on mobile devices, by phone, or in a brick and mortar store, today’s consumer expects you to know who they are and what they like across every sales channel.

What is driving the need for an omnichannel customer experience? Today’s consumers crave authenticity, personalization, and convenience. They want to engage with your brand and products on a level that feels personal including product recommendations based on their styles and preferences. They also expect that same highly personal and satisfying customer experience to extend across every channel they use to interact with your brand.

What Should an Omnichannel Experience Look Like?

When fashion and soft goods retailers execute a well-designed omnichannel marketing strategy, consumers should enjoy a consistent experience across any channel they use to interact with the company. Ideally, that experience should be personalized to their:
Shopping preferences—some consumers like to view and touch things in a brick and mortar store but prefer to make selections and place orders online. Some like to shop on their phones, but make returns to a physical location. Whatever combination of mobile, physical, online, and telephone channels a customer uses, the experience should remain the same.
Product and style preferences—When making product suggestions, if a customer has always purchased geometric, modern patterned fabrics, the suggestion generator shouldn’t be push florals or antiques. That is why It’s important to gather as much information about each customer’s style from both shopping and purchasing history.
Garment size—if shopping for fashions, nothing would be more frustrating than seeing the perfect pair of jeans suggested but discovering they only come in petites while you wear plus sizes. In an online experience, it would have been better to shop by size and avoid the confusion.
Purchasing decision drivers—over time and with proper data collection, brands can identify what types of offers drive a consumer’s decision to purchase. Does a discount offer bring a customer onto the web or into the store? Or is she more inclined to respond to exclusivity—for example a “sneak peek” of the new season’s line up for “top customers. Maybe offers with very short availability help her make a quick buying decision, for example a product that will only be offered during a one-day flash sale.
Marketing media—some customers respond to email offers while others like receiving information in the mail or by text. Many shoppers rely on social media for a visual tour of all the latest styles and fashions. Finely-tuned omnichannel strategy reaches out to consumers using a personalized mixture of marketing formats.

Try, Buy and Return through Bricks or Clicks

Consumers should be able to try out products, buy them and, if necessary, return them across any combination of channels they prefer. When they do so, they expect any automated system or employee of your brand to have access to the same customer and order information. For example, if a shopper purchases clothing at the store but wants to return it by phone, the call center should be able to quickly access information about the purchase using a purchase number from the receipt or a customer loyalty number.

Industry-Specific ERP Is the Technology Hub that Helps Brands Power the Omnichannel Experience

A true omnichannel customer experience requires brands and retailers to know an awful lot about their customers. Consumer data is the hard currency of successful omnichannel strategy.

Select each business system with an eye to leveraging real-time consumer data for the benefit of the customer experience. Business systems must be able to share data easily with a single source of organizational truth—the ERP system. ERP serves as the central hub for all customer, sales, and financial information.

It’s easy to see why an industry-specific ERP is a must for fashion and soft goods. The same customer and order data must be available to the e-commerce web/mobile stores, point of sale (POS) software, and the call center. Inventory information must update immediately as orders get placed. Inventory counts must be aggregated across all warehouses. A generic ERP would lack fashion and home goods specific industry language and might not capture enough data to power your personalization tools or make meaningful analysis with predictive analytics.

Next-generation Exenta ERP was purpose-built for the fashion and apparel industry, with 700 years of combined experience and apparel-specific expertise supporting its continuous development. It enables brands to utilize the fashion industry size matrix—including style, color, label, dimensional sizes, and pre-pack information such as tickets, tags, and labels.

Exenta ERP helps brands engage with new channels rapidly, thanks to built-in EDI, real-time inventory visibility across in-house and third-party warehouses, comprehensive e-commerce and omnichannel integration, and consignment inventory capabilities. Schedule an Exenta ERP demo to see how an end-to-end solution designed for fashion and soft goods brands is essential technology in an effective omnichannel strategy.

Customer experience can make or break companies in the fashion industry. Learn how Exenta's software solutions can help your company create an omnichannel customer experience.

Learn More Today!

You’re probably hearing more and more about Omnichannel marketing as the newest and best way to serve today’s customer. But what exactly is it, and what is involved in incorporating it into your business?

Risky Resource Planning: Dangers of Using an ERP Not Specific to Your Industry

Learn why it's essential to have an industry-tailored ERP system to gain greater visibility into operations, increase productivity, and make critical business decisions.

Risky Resource Planning: Dangers of Using an ERP Not Specific to Your Industry

Risky Resource Planning: Dangers of Using an ERP Not Specific to Your Industry

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) enables manufacturing organizations to gain greater visibility into operations, increase productivity and efficiency, and make critical business decisions that can lead to improved profitability.

But does it really matter whether the ERP your organization uses was designed specifically for your industry? For fashion and home goods brands, the answer is YES.

When your ERP lacks specific functionality and configurability for your industry, you’ll find you must constantly adapt your business to work within the confines of the ERP system, as opposed to having a system that can seamlessly configure to your current processes. Instead of enhancing your organization’s efficiency, the wrong ERP might actually slow you down as you struggle to keep track of some types of data manually, outside the ERP system.

Kick the Spreadsheet Habit with Industry-Specific ERP

Historically, the fashion industry is not very tech savvy. Many brands that do not yet use an ERP are instead creating multiple spreadsheets to track different products. They use multiple spreadsheets to track production and Work in Progress.

Spreadsheets are notoriously inaccurate for a variety of reasons. Typographical errors are common, in spite of the best intention of employees. Usually, multiple copies of the spreadsheet end up proliferating around the organization and it is a challenge to identify which is the most current. In fact, different employees may be updating different copies of the same spreadsheet, meaning no copy is entirely accurate.

In contrast, an ERP system offers one centralized point for all data to reside. All appropriate employees and managers are able to access the system at any time for the more up-to-date information. ERP offers accurate reporting that displays real-time information.

Real-time visibility is the key to ensuring both customer satisfaction and profitability. At the end of the season, your ultimate goal is to have the least amount of inventory in your warehouse while having reliably serviced your customers and delivered products to them in a timely manner.

General ERP Lacks Industry-Specific Language and Standards

Having the ability to use your ERP as the one and only source of truth in your organization is a huge benefit. But that benefit requires you to keep all of your information in the ERP.

An industry-specific ERP for fashion and apparel will enable your brand to utilize the fashion industry size matrix—so your resource planning captures industry-specific language and standards, including style, color, label, dimensional sizes, and pre-pack information such as tickets, tags, and labels. If you fail to get this data into the system, your ERP reporting will be worthless and your employees will likely fall back to spreadsheets for tracking.

Death by a Million SKUs or Easy Multi-Level Configuration?

In a typical generic ERP, employees have to set up different SKUs for every iteration of size, color, style, and more. In a fashion industry ERP, they can set up one style and enjoy multi-level configuration to attach different attributes. This significantly reduces the data entry burden and ensures the information in your ERP is comprehensive. Real-time inventory reports in an industry-specific ERP have a level of precision and accuracy that is difficult to achieve in a traditional system.

Fashion-Specific ERP Offers a More Intuitive User Experience

If you adopt a generic ERP, it will contain all sorts of functionality that isn’t useful to your employees and lack key features they need. This results in confusion and a substandard user experience. On the other hand, if you choose an ERP designed for your industry, it will capture the right information, accommodate the right business processes, and produce reports with meaningful information.

Next-generation Exenta ERP was purpose-built for the fashion and apparel industry, with 700 years of combined experience and apparel-specific expertise supporting its continuous development. It’s a centralized, fully integrated system that enables manufacturers to customize for industry-specific workflows and criteria such as style, color, label, pre-pack and size. Exenta ERP delivers real time visibility across manufacturing operations—from concept to delivery—empowering leaders to make better informed decisions that result in reduced cycle times, and improved efficiency and profitability.

Schedule an Exenta ERP demo today and see the difference it makes to have an ERP designed exclusively for fashion and soft goods manufacturers.

Using an ERP that is specific to the fashion industry is crucial to have for making business decisions, increasing productivity, and efficiency. Schedule a demo today to see how an industry-specific ERP can benefit your company.

Request a Demo!
Could Your Legacy ERP Be THE One Thing Standing Between Your Organization and Your Goals?

Everything your ERP system manages is mission-critical. Finding the right ERP is crucial in helping your company drive business goals for growth, workforce productivity, and customer relationships.

Case Study: Exenta ERP Solution Improves Efficiency And Accuracy Throughout MindsInSync, A Leader In Home Décor Solutions

With the Exenta ERP, the MindsInSync team spends less time bogged down in operational analysis and more time innovating new products and making strategic moves.