Global retail returns have reached a staggering $642.6 billion per year – the value of which ranks as the world’s 21st largest economy . While many of these returns may be attributed to the quality of the product, the wrong size or simply the consumer having second thoughts, a rising trend of ‘wardrobing’ – where consumers purchase an item, use it and then return it – is fast becoming one of the biggest challenges’ facing the retail industry.
Checkpoint Systems – a global leader in source to shopper solutions – has announced the launch of its next generation R-Turn Tag solution that will enable retailers to reduce the number of fraudulent returns.
The issue of wardrobing
‘Wardrobing’ has become one of the top issues facing apparel retailers as compulsive buyers, with weak purchasing power, try to achieve a new look every week. Two in three retailers (64.5%) have encountered customers who use an item and then return it for a refund, with many seasoned ‘wardrobers’ returning around 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, Spanish newspaper interviewed a 29 years old wardrober, who explained her wardrobing addiction as: "When an important appointment arrived, 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 exacerbates the problem for retailers. And for every item that is purchased 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.
It’s important for retailers to have a robust returns policy that doesn’t alienate customers. As a result, Checkpoint has developed the R-Turn Tag – a low-cost solution that is proven to reduce ‘wardrobing’. The attractive small tag – which can be customised with a retailer’s branding – is applied to merchandise by the retailer and remains in place until the customer removes it at home by breaking the locking mechanism manually with a few simple twist – no additional tools required.
The innovative locking mechanism has been developed to avoid product damage and allow its placing anywhere on a garment, including the seam. Thanks to this freedom of positioning, 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 without impacting customer experience.
Irene Fernandez, Product Management Europe at Checkpoint Systems, commented:
“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’.”
Checkpoint Systems, a division of CCL Industries, addresses two critical issues for its customers: Improving Profitability and Improving Consumer experience. With consumer demands accelerating at an extraordinary rate driven by technology, Checkpoint recognizes the challenges faced by its customers in the rapidly evolving retail market. We deliver intelligent solutions – bringing clarity and efficiency into the retail environment anytime, anywhere. Through a unique offering of software, hardware, labels, tags and connected cloud based solutions, Checkpoint optimizes operational efficiencies through analysis of real time data captured throughout the Supply Chain and in store then translating this to clear concise actions and tasks.
We provide end-to-end solutions enabling retailers to achieve accurate real-time inventory, accelerate the replenishment cycle, prevent out-of-stocks and reduce theft, thus improving merchandise availability and the shopper’s experience. Checkpoint’s solutions are built upon 48 years of radio frequency technology expertise, innovative high-theft and loss-prevention solutions, market-leading RFID hardware, RFID software, and comprehensive labeling capabilities, to brand, secure and track merchandise from source to shelf. Checkpoint’s customers benefit from increased sales and profits by implementing merchandise availability solutions, to ensure the right merchandise is available at the right place and time when consumers are ready to buy. Checkpoint operates in every major geographic market and employs 4,500 people worldwide.