Oddly enough signs of return fraud and wardrobing can be all around you when you go shopping and you can see it if you know what you are looking for. My wife and I both have backgrounds in retail sales. I have been in it for approximately 27 or so years, my wife was in sales and comparison shopping for around 15 years. Recently we were out clothing shopping and she stopped me and pointed out a dress that was hanging up on a rack. She said that someone had worn it out somewhere and returned it. Since her experience was in department store clothing sales and jewelry I believed her but I wanted to look a bit closer. Sure enough, a little bit of makeup was around the neckline and the dress looked wrinkled compared to the others. Despite this, the retailer kept it at the same price as the others and I thought this was silly. If I was the customer I would just take one that was in better condition. Why buy a dress in this condition? Walking through another store looking for shoes for our daughter we thought we found a pair. My wife stopped me from selecting them, she said they had been worn and returned. Sure enough I turned them over and there was dirt in the grooves of the sole and the inside of the shoe looked a bit dirty. We put the shoes back and had to go somewhere else to look for shoes for our daughter. Wardrobing costs stores in lost sales and lost profit margin. It can be prevented but it requires a firm return policy and the use of Shark Tags.
Wardrobing is not a common word but it is a form of return fraud and can be hard to defend against because it incorporates a legitimate purchase and appears to follow store return policies. Unlike other return fraud that can be caused by the theft of merchandise and an attempt to return it without a receipt. A person who is wardrobing purchases a clothing item and carefully hides or removes the manufacturer tags. They do not intend to keep the merchandise rather they buy to wear it a time or two and willfully return the item afterwards. All tags are put back, reattached or unhidden and the receipt is properly retained. A couple of issues are involved. Often the merchandise has stains (as my wife and I encountered), the items may have body, food or other odors clinging to it, a salesperson may lose commission when the clothes are returned and the store may have to mark the item down or out of stock entirely. It is not a victimless crime but it falls into a gray area that makes it difficult, if not impossible to prosecute.
The staff of Loss Prevention Systems Inc. knows that return fraud can make a significant dent in a retailer’s profits and their solution to the problem requires only the use of Shark Tags on all clothing. A Shark Tag is a one-time use bright red tag that is pinned to an item. The tag is to be placed where it will show prominently if the garment is worn in public. Because the tag will attract attention and cannot be reattached once removed, people who engage in wardrobing won’t buy clothes when Shark Tags are used by retailers. The key to making the use of the tags truly impactful is a store manager who requires ALL clothing to be tagged and adamantly refuses to accept any clothing return in which a tag has been removed. When properly applied and return policies enforced Shark Tags will cut down fraudulent returns and help stores improve profitability. It will also ensure that the clothes presented to customers like my wife and me, will be items we want to purchase…NEW!
Don’t get stung twice by the people who will buy your merchandise, wear it and return it. When you return the money for clothing someone had no intention of keeping and then you have to mark it down in order to sell it you are getting burned twice. Let Loss Prevention Systems Inc. help you stop being the victim of fraudulent activity and improve sales.
Need information on Wardrobing? Give us a call at 1.770.426.0547 now.