In the effort to increase sales and drive customer satisfaction many stores have implemented extremely liberal return and refund policies. I understand the premise behind this, make things easier for the customer, trust that they will not abuse your policies and they are more likely to be long-term patrons. Customer service can make or break a business and so balancing the need for making a profit with keeping your customer base happy can be tricky. In the office supplies store I work for we try hard to make reasonable returns for our patrons. A customer may bring back an ink cartridge for a printer without a receipt and explain that they had picked out the wrong one. They may be required to produce a picture I.D. but unless they have completed too many no receipt returns they will be able to get a refund. It’s good business. Many times they will turn around and purchase the correct cartridge. For non-clothing merchandise this can be easier to do than conducting refunds for clothing, whether the customer has the receipt or not. There are customers who engage in something called wardrobing and this fraud can make it hard on store managers to not tighten up return policies. Stores do have one sure method to fight this type of return fraud and that is the use of Alpha Shark Tags on clothing.
What is wardrobing? Why is it so deceptive? What are Alpha Shark Tags and how can they prevent this kind of fraud? Wardrobing is an intentional act of purchasing clothing with the knowledge that the clothes will be worn a time or two and returned for a full refund. It is deceptive because of the intent behind it and those who do it find ways to keep the tags intact on the merchandise. Sometimes the tags are taped inside the clothes for example up the sleeve of a shirt, or hanging inside the collar. In extreme cases the perpetrator will use a swift tag attachment gun to reattach tags to clothing. In this type of fraud the “customer” has the original receipt and all tags match up to it. Alpha Shark Tags prevent this type of return fraud because they can only be removed once and that is by being cut off. When merchandise is purchased these tags are left on the items. The customer gets the item home, tries it on again and if they are sure they want the item, the customer cuts off the tag and wears the item. The store has a crystal clear return policy that lets the patron know they cannot make a return once the tag is removed.
Why can’t the customer who is intent on wardrobing simply hide the Alpha Shark Tag like they do with the manufacturer hang tags? The reason is that the tags are a bright red color so they stand out on the clothing. When properly pinned in a highly visible location such as on a shirt sleeve or pant leg seam the tag can’t be concealed. It becomes obvious to others that the person wearing the clothing intends to return it. The façade of someone trying to look like they have an ever-growing wardrobe is stripped bare.
Does the use of the Shark Tag hurt the retailer who is trying to be flexible with their customers? I don’t believe it does. The customers who are honest will understand the purpose of the tags. The tags don’t negate the ability of a customer to return defective merchandise if a tag has been removed. What they do prevent is someone wearing clothes to a party, getting them stained with food or drink or drowned in perfume or cologne and then getting a refund the next day.
Is a liberal return policy what drives profits? I don’t know that it does. I think what drives sales is great customer service, beginning with a friendly sales staff. Sales are driven when we take time to talk with our customers, learn what they are looking for and give advice on what we honestly think will enhance their purchase or their needs. Honest customers don’t expect a retailer to be the victim of return fraud or to lose money they want fair treatment and usually will reciprocate in kind.
Alpha Shark Tags are important and we can help you with it. Call 1.866.914.2567 now.