I’ve written and talked about some very common forms of return fraud in the past, but I still get tons of questions and side-ways looks when I talk about wardrobing. Most merchants are very unfamiliar with this term and the associated fraud scheme, but more often than not, those very same merchants have been a victim of this fraud.
Wardrobing is a name given to a very specific fraud scheme, usually associated with higher end apparel boutiques. In simplest terms, it’s the purchase of an apparel item, such as a higher end evening gown, or perhaps a prom dress. Wearing the item for that one occasion, then returning it to the store for a full refund. It all appears very legitimate, and without a stringent return policy, your store could become a rental agency. While returns are a part of business, if every customer partook in this behavior, your doors wouldn’t remain open for very long. How can you stop it?
Wardrobing’s natural predator is the Alpha Shark Tag. I’ve talked about these tags before and for good reason; they work! There aren’t many products on the market that do exactly what they say they do, but these are one of those products. Now, don’t think that sticking an Alpha Shark Tag on your designer clothes will solve all the world’s problems now. If you’re going to combat wardrobing, it takes a multi-pronged approach.
First of all, you need to update your store’s return policy. Usually this can be communicated to your customers with in store signage, printed on the receipt or in speaking with your customers. I recommend all three if you can. You need to make sure that your return policy clearly states that merchandise can only be returned if the Alpha Shark Tag is still in place and there is no evidence that it was tampered with.
Second, you need to apply the tags. Make sure when applying the tags, you are putting them in a very conspicuous place that would be very visible if the garment were worn. If the tag can be hidden, or covered with an accessory such as a scarf, you’re not doing yourself any good here. This makes it impossible for someone to wear the item out in public, thus forcing them to cut the tag from the garment. Of course, this doesn’t prevent them from trying it on for size, so be sure to keep that in mind when placing the tags.
Lastly, stick to your policy. No matter what story someone may give you, stick to your guns. At first, those customers who are used to renting from you may put up a huge fight. After all, aren’t’ they entitled to steal your profits? As long as you stick with your policy and remain consistent, you will see a dramatic decrease in the volume of returns, ultimately keeping more profit in your pockets.
For more information, contact us: Alpha Shark Tags, or call 1.770.426.0547