A recent US study has found more and more retailers are turning to electronic article surveillance in a bid to combat shoplifting, with the adoption of merchandise alarms and security tags increasing in the past year.
The findings were noted in the US National Retail Federation’s annual security survey and support a further report that indicates 68 per cent of loss prevention professionals believe EAS and other security measures “are truly effective in deterring theft in retail stores”.
So, what’s driving the uptake in EAS and how does it compare to Australia?
Two recent findings
On June 6, the NRF released the National Retail Security Survey and found the use of security tags and labels was on the rise, with an estimated 80.9 per cent of US retailers now harnessing the power of EAS.
- 46 per cent of retailers now use merchandise alarms/electronic security tags – an increase of 25.4 per cent since 2018.
- 9 per cent of retailers now use acousto magnetic/electronic security tags – an increase of 12.7 per cent in 2018
Australia and EAS
In Australia and the wider Asia Pacific region, EAS remains one of the major tools utilised to combat shoplifting, with an estimated 90 per cent of retailers employing the technology.
Effectively that means our usage is far ahead of the US and the rest of the world where an average of 73 per cent of retailers employ EAS including labels, hard tags and EAS antennas.
So, what’s contributing to the popularity of EAS? Here are nine reasons for the recent rise in EAS use.
Nine reasons EAS is gaining popularity
EAS is renowned as extremely effective, resulting in an estimated 60-80 per cent decrease in external theft.
2. Individual product protection
The system is designed to protect individual products, meaning any item that a label or tag is affixed to will cause an EAS alarm to sound if it is being taken illegally from a store.
3. Immediate alert
The audible alarm means retail associates are immediately alerted to a theft in progress as the item is leaving the store. That allows them to retrieve the product and then seek to ascertain whether law enforcement should become involved.
4. Easy to use
Security tags and labels are easy to use, while the EAS antenna requires only minimal servicing and simple daily checks after installation.
Tags can be affixed quickly by staff and are removed at the Point of Sale using a detacher during the sales transaction. They can then be re-used time and again.
Labels do not require detaching, but rather are deactivated at the Point of Sale using a device that breaks the circuit in the label. This deactivator can even be incorporated into the barcode scanner for greater speed and efficiency.
A major benefit of EAS is that it’s scalable. If a retailer increases their stock volume, they simply buy more compatible tags and labels that communicate with the installed antenna system.
Additional retail outlets can also be easily outfitted with the antenna while using the same type of tags and labels across multiple outlets allows for economies of scale.
6. Visible deterrent
As shoplifting is often a crime of opportunity, the simple presence of a security tag or label means a product is much less likely to be a target of shoplifting.
7. Cost effective
Broadly speaking, a reputable EAS system has an expected lifespan of about 10-15 years.
Meanwhile, ongoing costs include purchasing replacement tags (when required) and labels. Compared to the cost of shrink, which results in an average loss of between one and three per cent of sales, EAS costs often pale into insignificance.
8. Aesthetically pleasing
9. Many options available
Security tags and labels are available for almost all imaginable products and in a variety of shapes and sizes. From clothing tags to labels, optical tags and liquor tags, there is a huge array of security tags and labels to suit every purpose in retail.