- Security TWENTY
- Women in Security
While many returns of clothes to store may be due to the quality of the product, wrong size or simply the consumer having second thoughts, retailers are reporting a rising trend of ‘wardrobing’: consumers buy an item, use it and then return it. Hence Checkpoint Systems’ European launch of its R-Turn Tag for retailers to reduce the number of fraudulent returns.
The loss prevention product manufacturer says that ‘Wardrobing’ has become one of the top issues facing clothing retailers as buyers, with weak purchasing power, try to achieve a new look every week. Many seasoned ‘wardrobers’ may return 20 items a year. This figure increases when the shopper becomes confident the store won’t reject their merchandise.
Exploring the habits of ‘wardrobers’ and its impact on the retail industry, a Spanish newspaper interviewed a 29-year-old wardrober, who explained her wardrobing addiction as: “When an important date arrives, like a conference, I want a different outfit for every day. I buy things that I know I’m going to return, I only want to put them on once, it’s like having the whole season collection.”
Similarly to shoplifters, many ‘wardrobers’ share information, such as where and how easy it is to perform the wardrobing, which worsens the problem for retailers. And for every item bought online or in-store with the sole aim that it will be returned at a later date, the opportunity for an ‘out of stock’ scenario increases. Not only that, merchandise purchased online and returned in-store creates a further logistical problem for retailers.
Checkpoint says it’s important for retailers to have a robust returns policy that doesn’t alienate customers. The R-Turn Tag is described as a solution, a small tag – which can be personalised with a retailer’s branding – applied to merchandise by the retailer. It remains in place until the customer removes it at home by breaking the locking mechanism manually with a twist .
The locking mechanism has been developed to avoid product damage and allow its placing anywhere on a garment, including the seam. It can fit on a visible area to act as a visual deterrent to dissuade shoppers from wearing merchandise and returning it. By amending a returns policy to state that returns are only accepted with the R-Turn Tag fitted onto the garment with the instructional label attached, retailers are able to minimise fraudulent returns, the product firm adds.
Irene Fernandez, Product Management Europe at Checkpoint Systems, said: “Retailers have been plagued by fraudulent returns for many years and the true cost to a business is now being realised. It’s important that stores don’t stop accepting returns, after all, most returns are made because an item has a fault or is the wrong size, but it’s vital to introduce new practices that limit the ability of dishonest shoppers to buy a product, wear it and then return it. R-Turn Tag is the answer and this second-generation solution is enabling retailers to make significant strides in tackling ‘wardrobing’.”