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SIRAS Product-Returns Reports Debut In TWICE

pioneer in point-of-sale electronic product
registration services for manufacturers
and retailers, will begin providing
TWICE exclusively with its “aging
analysis” for product returns in several
CE categories, starting with this issue’s
By The Numbers section.

SIRAS logs and verifies the attempted
return (successful or not) of a specific
product against a record of its original
purchase. Each product is identifiable by
a unique “fingerprint” generated by Siras
and based on its UPC and serial number,
the company said.

According toSIRAS president Peter
Junger, an aging analysis on returns and attempted
returns can help retailers identify
patterns of fraud. For example, while a high
rate of attempted returns on the date of purchase
might be attributed to buyer’s remorse,
it could also be a sign of something amiss,
like credit card fraud, product substitution
or some other form of theft.

The analysis might also be used by a
retailer to consider the impact of modifying
or customizing return policies to
trim losses, Junger said.

There are a few qualifications about SIRAS’ data to keep in mind. First, the
data is compiled based only on the products
and retailers participating in its programs.
So while the sample is quite large
with dozens of UPCs, thousands of retail
locations and tens of millions of transactions
over a 12-month period, it will not
include products that are typically not involved
in a SIRAS program, such as items
priced below $25, the company said.

More detailed reporting is available to SIRAS’ participating retailers and manufacturer
clients, said Junger.

Siras’ analysis is based solely on those
products with serial numbers registered in
its program, and it uses only transaction information
from participating retailers, so the
analysis is highly reliable, especially since it
is untainted by non-registered products or
products sold through secondary or other
unauthorized channels. Also worth noting,
the data covers attempted returns, not simply
successful returns.

Not all return attempts comply with
retailer and manufacturer policies, and
are deflected using the SIRAS Electronic
Registration program.

This initial report (see chart) shows
returns for flat-panel LCD and plasma
TVs based on data compiled over a 12-
month period ending in this March.

Two points are worth considering, SIRAS said. The first and most obvious is that nearly
14 percent of returns are attempted on the
very date of purchase. This rate, when compared
with other categories or a retailer’s expectations,
could indicate a sign of trouble
or opportunity worth looking into.

Also, 81 percent of attempted returns
take place within 30 days of the original
purchase and 95 percent within 90 days. A
retailer with a 90-day return policy might
look to reduce returns by requiring they be
made within 30 days of original purchase.

Such a change in policy might not have
a negative impact on the consumer experience,
but it could have a significant impact
on the bottom line. The key for retailers is
having these facts in front them in order
to better define their policies and identify
opportunities, SIRAS said.