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New technology unveiled to aid retailers with inventory quarantine

Tom Shearsmith
28 May 2020

Checkpoint Systems has announced a new technology agnostic software solution called Inventory Quarantine, as the fashion retail industry prepares to open its doors again and businesses and consumers are focusing on the safety of shopping environments.

The technology is being created in response to the building questions surrounding the handling and management of returns in fitting rooms, store returns and fulfilment centres.

The SaaS-based solution can be stand alone or integrated and allows retailers to assign returned stock into an automated quarantine ‘holding pattern’ for a number of hours, removing items from visibility to customers both online and in-store.

Recommended to be set to Government guidelines in accordance with the lifespan of COVID-19 on garments and packaging, the simple but effective solution helps retailers process returns, releasing items only when deemed safe for re-sale – maximising sales while minimising health risk.

Inventory Quarantine uses unique software to identify returned items in fulfilment centres, stores, as well as merchandise from fitting rooms – initiating a virtual ‘quarantine clock’. Once activated, the items remain in a retailer’s designated ‘safe area’ until the assigned quarantine period is complete.

A push notification can be sent to employees notifying them that items are safe for re-sale, allowing the item to be put back onto the shop floor.

During the coronavirus pandemic, online apparel sales increased 34%, according to Adobe Analytics, while ACI Worldwide has claimed that many online retail categories saw an uptick in sales of up to 74% for March.

These increases in sales will potentially lead to a sharp rise on the standard 30-40% return rate of clothes and shoes, posing logistical issues for retailers who are implementing a quarantine on returned items.

Retailers carry the responsibility of ensuring returned or customer handled merchandise does not pose a health risk to others.

As a result, retailers including Gap, Nordstrom and Mango have already announced plans to quarantine items for a set period of time after they’ve been taken into a dressing room.

Mike French, UK Business Unit Director, Checkpoint Systems commented: “Across the world, the shopping experience we have grown to know is dramatically changing. Retailers that implement new processes that demonstrate they’re keeping people safe will undoubtedly be seen favourably by shoppers.

“Returns and fitting rooms have always presented a huge challenge to retailers, but that has been compounded by COVID-19. Shoppers who use dressing rooms are 70% more likely to buy, so it’s important to get them safely open as quickly as possible.

"Inventory Quarantine will enable retailers to do just that and will ensure stores minimise the financial impact.”

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