The explosion of returns: bought online, returned in store
Holiday return strategies: stop fraud with RFID
By Tom Bolanos
By Tom Bolanos
After a period of offering discount codes and coupons to maximize holiday sales, it’s time to get ready for returns. Especially for items that have been ordered online and offered for return in stores. An increasing number of retailers offer the ability to buy everywhere and return anywhere. However, there is a serious unintended consequence of this convenient return service. Return fraud, leading to shrinkage!
Last year, shoppers were expected to return an estimated $41.6 billion worth of merchandise sold during the holiday season according to CNBC. If that doesn’t surprise you, it is estimated that 10% - 15% of merchandise sold for the holidays will be returned. That’s a hefty portion of annual sales, which totalled $730.3 billion in 2019 according to the National Retail Federation.
Loss prevention professionals need to be concerned about returned items because the fact is, over 21% are presented without receipts and are potentially fraudulent. In fact, nearly 29% of retailers reported an increase in fraudulent Buy Online Return in Store (BORIS) returns. Compounding the problem is that some retailers do not have a solid plan to properly process and store the returned merchandise. Those who fall into that category will undoubtedly be hit with an unprecedented shrink. Without a solid plan in place, any large influx of merchandise will cause unwanted markdowns, which contribute to shrink
Ensuring the right tools are in place will help loss prevention (LP) professionals build a solid plan for efficiently dealing with returns. Using RFID solutions for your loss prevention is one of the most important things a loss prevention professional can do to ensure success. With RFID tracking, employees know instantly if an item being returned was ever previously purchased and if it was purchased in-store or online. The most successful LP executives know this and are able to realize significant refund fraud reduction by deploying modern loss prevention solutions. RFID solutions also allow stores to curb the type of fraud in which suspects grab items off the shelf and immediately present them to the returns desk for a refund without ever purchasing the item.
Using RFID at your checkout and return desk makes it even possible to improve the speed and security of the return process. Scanning the RFID label at the POS (Point Of Sales) terminal generates data about when and where a product is returned. Integrating your POS with an RFID database means that you can generate data about a specific item when scanning it. The RFID database includes data about the product location, sales history, product information and whether it has been sold or not.
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