So, have you read something that makes you shake your head in disbelief? I have been in the retail industry for about 25 years in one capacity of another and when I think I have seen or heard everything, I always seem to find out that I am mistaken. Take return fraud for example, I thought it was a rather limited number of people that have participated in it. Though I dealt with it quite a bit as a Loss Prevention Manager and as a retail store executive, I gave the benefit of the doubt that the vast majority of people would not engage in it. That is why I was somewhat shocked when I read in an online opinion piece in theguardian, “Wardrobing: why returning worn clothes is the latest fashion”, by Daisy Buchanan, the writer states that, “According to a survey, one in six women admits to purchasing an item of clothing or an accessory, wearing it and then returning it to the shop for a full refund.” The writer does not say who conducted the survey, but if the numbers are true, this is should be a concern for clothing retailers. Return fraud and specifically wardrobing is a costly drain on retailers. I can only think of two ways to defend against this, either deny a majority of your returns and lose good customers along with the bad ones or use Alpha Shark Tags.
Wardrobing is the intentional purchasing of clothing or clothes accessories, wearing the merchandise and returning it. While this is certainly not illegal, it is a grey area and it does hurt retailers who are burdened with the associated costs of the activity. In most cases of wardrobing, the clothing is being worn to a party or a night out. This means when it is returned to the store it has odors of food, cologne, perfume or perhaps stains from drinks or makeup. These pieces of clothing can no longer be sold at the original price. If the practice is new to you, you may be wondering why, if the tags are removed are retailers taking them back? People who practice this return fraud use a number of methods to get around this problem. The easiest is to tape the tags inside the clothing so they are not visible. Another method is to carefully remove the tags from the plastic tag attachment/hanger and replace them before returning the merchandise. The third way is a little more extreme, but some will go out and purchase a ticket gun with the plastic attachments. Alpha Shark Tags are attached to clothes and placed where they cannot be hidden. The store requires the tags to be cut off by the customer when they get the clothing home and once removed, the garment cannot be returned.
In an attempt to find more information on how many people may actually practice this type of return fraud, I reviewed a number of web sites and came across one, which did a poll of their readers. The question was, “Have You bought clothes just to wear then return?”The first two responses that could be given were, “I regularly wear and return to get free rental” and “I’ve done it once or twice in the last couple of years”. Of 16,020 votes cast, 580 respondents voted in one of these two ways. The next response that could be given was, “I’ve only ever done it once in my life”. Of those polled, 703 said they have done it once in their life. Granted this is not a scientific poll, but about 8% of those responding to this poll said they have bought clothes just to wear and return at least once in their life. If Alpha Shark Tags were used in your store, you would be able to prevent nearly 10% of your customers from committing refund fraud and that would translate into further profit.
Don’t allow your store to be the victim of return fraud. There is a solution to wardrobing by using Alpha Shark Tags on your merchandise. By using Alpha Shark Tags, your honest customers will continue to shop with you and the dishonest customers will go elsewhere.
For more information on Alpha Shark Tags, contact us or call 1.770.426.0547