Checkpoint SaaS controls quarantine for returned stock

  • June 9, 2020
  • imc

Checkpoint Systems has announced a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering for retailers reopening post-lockdown to manage the quarantine of returned stock, removing its visibility online and in store.
As the apparel retail industry prepares to open its doors again, phased re-openings hinge on a safe shopping environment for both employees and customers.
In response to questions surrounding the handling and management of returns in fitting rooms, stores and fulfilment centres, the New Jersey company has announced technology agnostic software called Inventory Quarantine (IQ).
The SaaS-based offering 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, this can help retailers process returns, releasing items only when deemed safe for re-sale, thus increasing sales while reducing health risk.
IQ uses software to identify returned items in fulfilment centres and 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 is then sent to employees notifying them that items are safe for re-sale.
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 no doubt lead to a sharp rise on the standard 30 to 40% return rate of clothes and shoes, posing logistical issues for retailers who are implementing a quarantine on returned items.
To add to the complexity, as brick-and-mortar stores reopen their doors, customers can begin returning items in person rather than via post. This coupled with items from fitting rooms, creates uncertainty over potential contamination of merchandise in stores.
Retailers carry the responsibility of ensuring returned or customer handled merchandise does not pose a health risk to others. As a result, the likes of Macy’s, 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.
Keeping track and reducing time off shelf, Checkpoint’s IQ is technology agnostic and helps retailers introduce health and safety measures, instilling confidence in both employees and consumers.
“Across the world, the shopping experience we have grown to know is dramatically changing,” said Mike French, business unit director at Checkpoint Systems. “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.”