The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) states that the retail industry provides over 42 million Americans with employment. It's important to protect those jobs from the threat of theft by shoplifting. The RILA Asset Protection Conference in April 2018 underlined the importance of technology in the loss prevention battle.
Are you wondering whether EAS security products are right for your store? If so you need to read on to learn for yourself what a difference EAS can make to your business. Here are 7 benefits of EAS security products.
What is EAS?
Electronic article surveillance (EAS) is a loss prevention system that deters shoplifting. It uses antenna usually placed at the exits and entrances to a store creating an invisible gate. The antenna picks up if an active tag passes the antenna and sets off an alarm.
Tags are attached to items of merchandise either in-store or in the manufacture or packaging process. Either hard or sticker tags can be removed or deactivated at the checkout. If an item with an active tag passes through the gate the alarm sounds and a security guard or sales associate can confront the suspected shoplifter.
1. Deters Theft
The main advantage of EAS is that it deters theft. This technology first took off after groundbreaking research in 1993. A field experiment in a Target store in Detroit used tags on openly displayed Texas Instruments calculators on pegs. A similar display was set up in a Target store in Indianapolis but without tags. A Minneapolis-St. Paul Target store kept the calculators in a glass case that was accessed only by sales associates.
The four-month-long test demonstrated that sales were greatest where the calculators were on open display. Losses were virtually non-existent in the case of the tagged articles. The case for tagging and especially source tagging was clearly made.
2. Improves Staff Safety
The deterrent effect of EAS means that your store ceases to be a target for shoplifters. This takes pressure off your sales associates. They no longer have the added responsibility of monitoring customers and preventing theft.
Confrontations with shoplifters reduce. Even confrontations after EAS activations tend to be few and far between as shoplifters are deterred. Employee safety is great for staff and your business too.
Employees should focus on selling not protecting products. By doing this they also increase your sales and the security system pays for itself.
3. Supports Open Display of Goods
Without EAS high-value items and easily re-sold items are a target for shoplifters. This means retailers take measures to make them less accessible to shoplifters. This also makes them less accessible to customers.
Lockable cabinets and display cases are a common solution. Merchandise is sometimes located behind counters and made available only with the assistance of a sales associate. The cost of cabinets, counters, and staffing can erode the profitability of the merchandise.
Customers tend to be less aware of the merchandise on offer and displays are less impactful. Customers can be reticent about asking for assistance when they are used to a self-service environment. Having staff on hand is not always a viable option.
Amazon is no slouches when it comes to understanding how to make sales at a profit. They're leading the way with their innovative Amazon Go model with an open display, no cabinets, and no checkouts either. You might not be quite ready for that.
Open display of merchandise undoubtedly promotes sales. Customers like it because it is convenient and they can examine the merchandise without being supervised by a sales associate. Retail managers like it because it is good for sales and productivity.
4. Improves Customer Service
In the highly competitive retail environment, customer service is often key. For retailers, customer service must be at least about making merchandise available for customers. Empty shelves due to security measures, theft or simply poor store productivity is poor customer service.
With EAS security, the store priority can switch from security and loss prevention to customer service and maximizing sales. Sales associates can spend more time maintaining the availability of merchandise and serving customers.
Installation of EAS security products is less expensive than you might think. There are self-installation starter packs that start from a little over $1,000. Reusable hard tags and paper self-adhesive labels make protecting merchandise inexpensive.
Manufacturers can fit tags into the product or packaging. This is known as "source tagging". Source tagging is now widespread with Sensormatic tags in over 50 million products and over 25 million products having Checkpoint labels.
Balanced against the cost of shoplifting, the cost of attaching tags in-store is a great investment. With source tagging, it can only be positive.
6. Easy to Operate
EAS security products are easy to use. After simple installation, attaching tags could not be simpler. Tags come in a range of types and sizes to suit different types of merchandise. Electrical equipment, liquor, apparel, and digital products can all be catered for.
It takes seconds to fit a label or tag and seconds to deactivate it. In the case of hard tags, they can be removed very easily with the correct security tag remover. It is much more difficult for a shoplifter to remove or deactivate a tag.
7. Return on Investment
Security tags and the systems that support them are durable and reliable. Once purchased they have a long effective life. The loss prevention benefits keep paying back year after year.
There is virtually no maintenance. Hard tags are reusable. The only ongoing costs are the purchase of self-adhesive labels and the labor costs of attaching tags.
Typically, retailers report a 1% to 2% of turnover loss through theft. Even a small reduction in theft makes the investment well worthwhile. And remember, for a one-off investment in a store system, the reduction in loss is ongoing.
The Choice Is Yours
If you are concerned about losses due to customer theft there a number of tactics you can adopt. Consider using anti-theft signs, store layout, and security mirrors. These low-tech solutions are useful.
For a more sophisticated solution, consider a camera system. For cameras to be effective you need to have good coverage and this can be expensive. Also, think about the practicalities of camera monitoring and recording.
The technology of EAS security products has to be a serious consideration. EAS benefits are proven and viable for most retail contexts. To learn more about EAS, click here.