Wardrobing IS Return Fraud-Prevent It With Alpha Shark Tags
In a Dec 17, 2015 report, The National Retail Federation states, “retailers estimate that 3.5% of their holiday returns this year will be fraudulent”. They estimate that this will translate to 2.2 billion dollars. I have not been able to locate the final numbers for this past season, but 2.2 billion is a lot of money by ANY definition. The report did go on to say that 72.6% of the retailers they interviewed said that they have experienced wardrobing in the last year. Of all the return fraud that takes place this is probably the one that creates the biggest headaches for retailers. Wardrobing is the practice of buying an item, wearing it and returning it. There are a few methods to stop the practice, one of the best being Alpha Shark Tags.
Alpha Shark Tags are pinned to clothing and only removed by the purchaser once they get out of the store or get home. These bright colored tags are placed in a prominent location on a piece of merchandise and may even have an optional hang tag warning the buyer about the store return policy. The warning tag lets customers know that once the tag is removed, the article of clothing cannot be returned to the retailer. Since they are one-time use devices, Shark Tags cannot be removed from a garment, and replaced at a later time.
Why is the one-time use feature of the tag so important? The people involved in wardrobing are in the market to get free use out of merchandise from retailers.Take for example, if your store sells sports coats and a customer comes in who has a job interview coming up. Rather than spend money for a jacket they will only wear once, the customer purchases a sports coat and hides the tags or carefully removes them. The jacket is worn to the interview, brought back home, tags reattached and with receipt in hand, the jacket is returned for a full refund. The retailer makes absolutely no money from the sale and while some major retailers may be able to absorb these types of returns as the price of doing business, the small business owner can’t do the same. With an Alpha Shark Tag attached to that jacket in a location such as a lapel, the customer is unable to wear the jacket with the tag in place. If the customer removes the tag to wear it to the interview the ability to return the jacket is voided.
Some people argue that wardrobing is not return fraud because they are staying within the return policies set by the stores themselves. If stores establish guidelines such as accepting returns within a set number of days as long as the patron has the receipt, and that is what they as the customer are doing, they see no issue. Often the merchandise returned has stains or odors on them from being worn. While I worked as a Loss Prevention Officer for a large department store I saw clothing returned with make-up stains, food stains, deodorant stains, perfume smells and cigarette odors. Because of the loose return policies, receipted returns were accepted, even with these blemishes. The store damaged the merchandise out and took the loss because the merchandise was not in a sellable condition. Because we tracked refund slips at that time, we knew that there were regular offenders, but we weren’t able to do anything about it.
Alpha Shark Tags are unobtrusive so they don’t interfere with trying on a garment. They allow a customer to purchase an item and take it home to try it on or give it as a gift. As long as the tag remains intact the merchandise can be returned with a receipt. Start using Alpha Shark Tags and boost profits by eliminating wardrobing and return fraud.
Return Fraud is important and we can help you with it. Call 1.770.426.0547 and let’s talk.