Security tag or label based Electronic article surveillance remains one of the most effective ways of protecting individual retail products against theft and loss. But if your system is sounding false alarms, it not only desensitises staff to potential threats but also directly affects the customer experience in-store.
Here are 10 tips to reduce false EAS alarms…
1. Test EAS systems regularly
EAS antenna should be regularly tested to ensure they are working properly. Ideally, staff should perform a daily test of the system based on the manufacturer’s instructions prior to opening the retail outlet each morning.
2. Check your deactivation systems
One of the most common reasons for false EAS alarms is incorrect deactivation of the label or the failure to remove the tag.
As part of daily system checks, staff should ensure all label deactivators are plugged into a power source and operating correctly. Meanwhile, all staff should be thoroughly trained on the removal of tags, and tag detachers should be made readily available at the Point of Sale.
3. Understand the ‘No Tag’ zone and product placement
The area between and in the immediate vicinity of EAS antennas should be kept free of product displays, clothing racks, lcd screens and even decorations. (Some decorations, especially those with foil or metal have been known to trigger an EAS alarm).
The “No Tag” zone is generally within two metres of the EAS system.
As a simple check, stretch your arms out, like you are doing a star jump, and make sure there are no security tags within, or just out of your reach, all around each pedestal.
In over 90 per cent of reported cases of false alarming, alarms are caused by a tag within the vicinity of the antenna.
4. Deactivate tags and labels at the Point of Sale
The Point of Sale is the ideal site for tags to be removed and labels to be deactivated. This allows store associates to scan an item for sale, and quickly and effectively deactivate a label or remove the tag in one simple process.
5. Label and tag positioning
Label and tag positioning play an important role in how quickly and effectively a label can be deactivated or how easy it is for staff to detach a security tag.
The ideal position for a security label is near the barcode, while ensuring the security label does not obscure it. This position allows for quick deactivation and maximum efficiency at the Point of Sale.
When it comes to security tags, they should be positioned so as not to interfere with the customer’s experience of an item yet be placed in a spot that’s easy for store associates to locate and access for tag removal.
Implementing a store guide that provides consistency in label and tag positioning can assist. Meanwhile, store management should ensure there are sufficient detachers and deactivators available at the Point/s or Sale.
6. Watch the EAS sensitivity levels
While some EAS antennas are unable to filter out interference, the more advanced EAS antennas are fitted with sensitivity adjusters and filters that can be adjusted to suit the retail environment. In busy retail environments where there is likely to be more interference from other systems, this must be done by contacting the EAS supplier. The adjustment is done by a technician in the store or even remotely through the internet in the latest systems.
7. Understand tag pollution
Tag pollution occurs when labels or tags are not properly deactivated or removed by other retailers, and it’s another common cause of false alarms.
Many advanced EAS antennas feature multi-coloured lights which allow staff to understand whether an alarm is sounding as someone enters or exits the store. This helps determine whether an alarm is sounding due to tag pollution or an actual theft.
Ensure staff are properly trained on identifying and handling tag pollution.
8. RF or AM? – Know your antenna
There are two widely use types of antenna systems available – RF and AM. RF is frequently used by retailers with high volume sales who require a flat paper security label.
Meanwhile, AM detection systems tend to offer wider exit or concealed systems.
9. Staff training
All staff should be regularly trained and refreshed on the operation of EAS system, including how to test the store’s EAS antennas and deactivators, how to identify tag pollution, and how to properly, consistently position tags and labels.
10. Log all alarms
All alarms should be noted and recorded by staff. This helps identify patterns of shoplifting, along with any tag pollution and genuine false alarms.
Logged alarms can then be used to identify whether a confirmed false alarm is caused by improper label deactivation by a staff member, due to products being positioned too close to the antenna or by possible system error.
Servicing and faults
Vitag has a dedicated service department available to assist with operating your EAS system. If you have tried all the procedures above and false alarms persist, you can contact us here.