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Thrift Store Label Switching

Each year, millions of dollars in merchandise is stolen from retail stores. Among those stores, thrift shops are no exception. Typically, thrift shops deal with the issue of “label switching,” which occurs when a customer changes the label of an item to reflect a different price or discount. The Price Gun Store offers a number of solutions for retail and thrift store owners.

When it comes to label stickers, the more aggressive the adhesive, the more difficult it is to remove the label without having it rip. It is recommended that thrift stores use stickers with the stronger adhesive to lessen the threat of theft. If a store employee sees that a pricing label is ripped off or torn, they will know that a customer attempted to switch the label in order to achieve a better price.

Pricing Sticker Options:

  • Adhesive: We offer regular adhesive labels that are equipped with a general purpose adhesive.  This fairly tacky material is commonly used in thrift stores and retail stores, but can be easily removed from an item and swapped with another price sticker of equal caliber. We also offer labels with a permanent grade adhesive. These labels are harder to remove from an item, as the adhesive is more aggressive. While these labels provide a higher level of security, they are often difficult to remove and can cause grief to some customers.
  • Security Cuts: Another option to help prevent label switching is to use stickers with security cuts in them. This option is favored among store owners who are worried about the extra strong adhesive being difficult to remove from a product. Security cuts are slits in the price sticker that cause the sticker to rip if someone attempts to remove it. If a label appears to be tampered with, staff will know and can address the issue.
  • Combination: The best route to take in preventing label switching is to use permanent adhesive stickers with extra security cuts. These stickers are both very difficult to remove, and will tear at any attempt to remove them.

It is important to make your staff aware of the types of theft that occur in thrift shops, particularly label switching. When employees know what to look for, issues can be addressed more quickly and efficiently, ultimately lessening shop theft. Inform your employees of label switching, and implement one of our stronger adhesive stickers into your price labeling methods to increase security measures and stop theft from occurring.

Label Colors

Thrift stores will commonly use different colors for pricing labels to help identify the time period in which items were put out for sale.  A typical way this works is switching colors each month, then to help inventory rotate, stores can start putting a color block on sale/discount.  An example would be as follows: January = yellow, February = green, March = red, April = pink.  When March comes around anything with a yellow price tag is 10% off.  When April comes, anything in yellow is 25% off and anything marked with a green price label is 10% off.  This makes it very easy for the stores to communicate and advertise to customers what items are discounted and by how much.  Using the different colored labels makes it very easy for the cashers in the store to ring up the right amount quickly.    
    When it comes to clothing items, stores have some options.  They can use the same color coding for the pricing stickers and apply them to a tag.  This way, stores just use clear or white plastic clothing barbs for the tags.  Operators can also choose to use different colors of the plastic barbs for the tagging gun.  Once again, keeping the various colors visible throughout the store helps customers and employees easily identify every item.


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