Retailers don’t always see theft, even when it’s happening in plain sight. I’m not talking about the typical kinds of theft; I’m talking about return fraud. Specifically, one of the most costly types of return fraud is called wardrobing. This scam involves someone buying something they do not intend to keep. Their sole plan is to return the item for a full refund. Then, in most cases, the store is forced to take a markdown on the item because it is now considered used. This classic scene plays out in the movies and sitcoms on a regular basis. On television it’s hilarious and the antics are laughable. In real life, it’s not at all funny. Many specialty boutiques and formal wear sellers are independently owned, so they don’t have the backing of a big loss prevention department. They have to rely on themselves to stop wardrobing.
This scam has been primarily perpetrated by women. They are considered the main culprit because most of the time wardrobing is for the purpose of dressing for a big occasion. She wants the nicest and most expensive dress to wear to the big event. She wants the best shoes, handbag, and all the jewelry and accessories to go with the ensemble. The problem is this stuff is expensive, and she doesn’t really have the money to spend on all of it. So if they can get away with it on television, there’s no reason it can’t work in real life. And it does. That’s why many retailers have made their return policies much more stringent. But, stricter rules like requiring receipts don’t stop wardrobing. Store managers and owners have to think outside the box when battling this invisible type of return fraud. That is why Alpha Shark Tags were introduced. They are simple, yet extremely effective, tools to put this type of thief out of business.
Alpha Shark Tags are the perfect answer to the problem of people returning used merchandise. They are attached to the new items, either directly pinned on, or via lanyard. They are safe for almost any fabric and do not damage the garment when pinned on, but the lanyard option is available for shoes, handbags, belts, etc. They need to be placed in a very obvious area of the garment, so they cannot be tucked in or hidden. Plus they are bright red so they stand out. This is to discourage the buyer from attempting to wear the item with the Alpha Shark Tag still attached. That’s not the only point of adding them to your inventory though. The best part about them is they are the silent enforcers of your new return policy. The idea is genius: the item cannot be returned if the Alpha Shark Tag is removed. It is designed to be removed by the customer, at home, with a pair of household scissors. It can not be reattached. If there is any evidence of tampering, that would also void any chance to return the item. This is the ultimate tool to stop wardrobing.
It’s not just about clothing though. Alpha Shark Tags can be used on many different items. The possibilities are there. Retailers just have to get creative in order to defeat return fraud. Billions of dollars are lost every year, and the problem will just continue to grow if it is not dealt with.
For more information about how to stop return fraud, contact us or call 1.770.426.0547