THE TAG BLOG
The shift towards single use return fraud tags
SEPTEMBER 7 2020
MAJOR RETAILERS MOVE TO COMBAT RETURN FRAUD WITH RETURN TAGS
Since Bloomingdale’s introduced the controversial ‘b-tag’ back in 2013, perception surrounding single use return tags has shifted to acceptance. Over the past year I have seen various types of custom home removal security tags appear on merchandise pointing to the fact that retailers and fashion brands are acknowledging the growing issue of return fraud. This situation is like when stores started using reusable plastic security tags in the 1960s, that are now commonplace, originally implemented to control the increasing prevalence of shoplifting.
The retail shrinkage problem driven by increasing instances of wardrobing, price switching, receipt fraud and cross retail returns has escalated rapidly along with the explosion of ecommerce and has sellers searching for solutions to eliminate cases of return abuse.
It was Bloomingdale’s who brought the issue of wardrobing or wear and return fraud out into the open and directly called out shoppers who were ‘borrowing’ special occasion dresses and returning them for a full refund.
In a statement Bloomingdale’s said, ‘These b-tags are in place to reinforce the fact that Bloomingdale’s will be unable to accept a return of merchandise that has been damaged, worn, washed, used and/or altered.’
So here we are 7 years later, and the use of secure return tags seen in department stores and attached to the clothes of certain fashion brands has increased. However custom manufacturing of such return tags is out of reach for most of us. So, whether you are a boutique owner, a fashion brand or an online seller (like I am on ebay) we have a versatile solution to ward off unscrupulous shoppers looking to engage in return fraud or abuse.
But first let’s look at some custom return fraud solutions that are easily understood by consumers and show that secure return tags are becoming normalized.
NORDSTROM'S DRESS RETURN TAGS
These tags were spotted at a Nordstrom store on their special occasion dresses. The highly visible cardboard tag is attached to the seam under the armhole.
What I found striking is that while they are there as a deterrent, they are not truly secure against return fraud. Anyone with a tagging gun kit, available on Amazon for $4.69, can easily reattach this tag.
However, it is encouraging to see Nordstrom shifting positions on fraudulent returns as back in 2013 they stated they would not be following Bloomingdale’s lead.
This tells us that preventing wardrobing return fraud can no longer be left to chance or reliance on the honesty of customers.
SELF-PORTRAIT'S RETURN TAGS
When flicking through the racks of a high-end department store you can't help but notice SELF-PORTRAIT’S dresses that stand out for their modern femininity.
Their layered lace and netting dresses offer the perfect attachment point for their return tags which are threaded through the outer layer and sealed with a plastic locking mechanism.
A return fraud deterrent is a definite necessity for a brand whose dresses makes the wearer stand out in a crowd.
Unfortunately there are some consumers who prefer not to be seen in the same dress twice. The challenge comes with the cost of such extravagance and so wear and return instead forcing fashion brands into adopting such measures against wardrobing.
BCBG MAX AZRIA'S RETURN TAGS
Another brand sort out for special occasions like proms, BCBG Max Azria has reverse engineered a care label and printed it with their return policy and sewn it into the outside seam of their dresses.
A highly visible deterrent to those looking to wear and return a dress for sure.
On close inspection it may be possible for someone with good crafting or sewing skills to reattach this tag. They would just need the perfect cotton to match!
WAYF'S RETURN TAGS
Wayf has taken the same approach as SELF-PORTRAIT with a plastic locking tag.
Being attached to the inside label of the dress does however reduce its effectiveness in preventing wear and return fraud.
It is true the dress might be a little uncomfortable with a large tag poking into the skin of the wearer, but what is a little discomfort to a would-be fraudster?
We are also aware of YouTube videos showing how to prize apart these plastic locking tags which then allows the buyer to reattach the anti return fraud tag.
NET-A-PORTER'S RETURN TAGS
Net-A-Porter clearly stipulate that returns must sent back with all their tags attached or their return policy becomes invalid.
While the highly visible security tag is simple in application it is also lacks strength as a loss prevention tool as the return tag can be reattached with a tagging gun. The customer just needs to have a supply of black plastic barbs.
YOOX'S RETURN TAGS
Online retailer YOOX also utilizes the plastic locking tag and return instruction card printed in 9 languages.
Being a worldwide retailer, protecting their merchandise from wear and return fraud and counterfeit product switching makes this custom solution a strong deterrent to refund abuse or deception.
360 ID TAG – A VERSATILE, TAMPER-PROOF RETURN TAG SOLUTION
When designing the patent pending 360 ID Tag, we wanted to account for all the scenarios of return fraud. Whether it was to stop instances of wear and return or wardrobing, price tag or counterfeit product switching we knew the solution had to be a versatile, robust and fraud proof return tag.
Serial returners have many return fraud tricks that can be stopped
The return tag solution is comprised of a 164’ roll of tag material that you dispense as needed and tamper-evident security seals that are uniquely numbered. So even in the unlikely instance where another person has their own supply of 360 ID Tag material, the return tag is non-transferable due to the serial numbers.
Prevent clothing from being worn and returned with a 360 ID Tag. Shown here is the Classic Loop Pack - 22mm.
EASY TO APPLY RETURN TAG
Once the tag material is cut from the roll it can be looped through your merchandise easily, the 2 ends secured with the tamper-evident security seal without risk of damaging the item. See how our return fraud tag works.
Prevent shoes from being worn and returned or switched for a counterfeit with a 360 ID Tag. Shown here is the Compact Loop Pack - 10mm.
The obvious VOID pattern that is revealed when the seal is removed or tampered with provides the perfect deterrent to eliminating instances of return fraud which are hurting sellers’ bottom line
Like all the solutions outlined above, adding a 360 ID Tag to your merchandise still allows the item to be tried on for fit or size. The return tag solution starts at just 22 cents per use and is available in 2 widths, 10mm or 22mm, and is sold separately or in 4 different return tag package combinations suited to different types of merchandise.
Want to talk return tags, have questions, or need some advice? Add a comment below, or send me a message at email@example.com and I’ll be happy to help you out.
CHELSEA DUHS - FOUNDER 360 ID TAG
Choose a 360 ID Tag Pack to suit your business
We offer 4 different 360 ID Tag packs with varying combinations of return tag material and tamper-evident security seals; or you can build your own combination. Have a look at the 360 ID Tag products and choose the return fraud solution that suits the types of products that you sell online.
Over the past year I have seen various types of custom home removal security tags appear on merchandise pointing to the fact that retailers and fashion brands are acknowledging the growing issue of return fraud. But are they all truly secure return tags?Read more
Shoes are a prime target for return fraud, whether being worn and returned or switched for a counterfeit and returned. Shoe sellers who are adding a 360 ID Tag to their merchandise are warding off dishonest customers before they purchase simply by adding a visible return tag.Read more
Dresses are one of the most common items to fall victim to wear and return fraud or wardrobing. The prevailing reason being that people prefer not to be seen in the same outfit twice – particularly when posting an #OOTD on Instagram of course! The solution is to add a return tag from 360 ID Tag.Read more