Shoplifting, product security and eco-friendly security tags
Shoplifting and general retail theft is a problem the world over. Retailers account for it in their figures, statistics are often portrayed in our communities, and the fight to reduce it is relentless.
It is fair to say that this is a problem on the mind of most businesses, particularly in the retail sector, even more so if the products they have on offer are considered highly desirable and therefore targeted products for theft.
The fight against shoplifting
But nobody is sitting by and accepting shoplifting as being a fact of retail life; the war on product theft is never-ending. With today’s technologically enhanced world, a broad range of theft prevention options are available.
High-tech surveillance offered by in-store cameras/ video surveillance (some of which now incorporate facial recognition technology) through to prevention in its simplest form by locking high-risk products in cabinets illustrate the spectrum of options.
Given the large proportion of global retail businesses falling in the small to medium enterprise scope, affordability and prevention effectiveness are the key for the majority.
Not all businesses can justify the costs of implementing and managing high-tech solutions, but conversely, often their products have a theft risk level or selling mode that is also incompatible with the very simplest of deterrents.
Many companies are now forced into implementing theft mitigation on behalf of retailers they may be supplying product to. Supermarket chains for example, often place the onus of theft prevention of high-risk items on their suppliers.
To add to this burden, these same suppliers are often held accountable for any theft of their products at the store level, having to foot the bill or replace goods pilfered. Either that or risk having their brands ejected from the shelves.
Simple and affordable deterrents
There is without question, vested interests in preventing theft by all participants in the supply chain, or at the very least providing strong deterrents.
For many years now, immago has been able to offer a range of cost-effective product level security tag options, primarily focussed on the economical but effective option of EAS tags.
EAS (Electronic Article Surveillance) tagging is not a new technology by any means.
You will no doubt recognise these tags. They are discreet disposable labels that include a simple chip and antennae array, etched into a carrier system, often a simple adhesive sticker.
These forms of security tag are ideal for protecting high-volume, high-shrinkage items such as garments, health and beauty products (especially cosmetics), home entertainment products, food and beverages, hardware items, appliances, shoes, and numerous other types of highly desirable products that may be on display to the general public.
The tags work in conjunction with a transmitter/ receiver system. You will know when you have come across such a system, especially if you hear an alarm going off at the front of a retail store. This generally means someone is trying to leave with a product that has not been paid for.
These tags, combined with the smarts of store entry security gates, provide an ideal, economic solution for retail loss prevention.
They have proven over the years, to be both an effective deterrent to would-be thieves, and as a very audible alert if an actual theft attempt plays out. However, at tag level, there really has been very little product development, until recently.
Eco-friendly security tags
immago has been working to find EAS tag enhancements that not only include product development initiatives, but that also fit within our continuing drive to bring our clients more eco-friendly/ sustainable options to include within their own environment focussed stories.
The focus over recent times has included 2 key factors:
- Tag performance improvement, and
- To make more eco-friendly security tags
We are pleased to introduce an EAS tag product that has achieved both development parameters.
EAS tags to date, have had limitations.
In certain circumstances, a tag’s ability to be seen by shop security gates could be compromised. The knowledgeable thief has techniques that could render a security tag invisible and ineffective.
Because the tags are working with radio waves, which don’t travel through water too well, a common technique was to use their own body to try and shield the tags from being seen by security gates.
Fortunately, the tags we are highlighting today have new technology incorporated that solves this potential weakness.
This new type of tag continues to work effectively, even when attempts to shield it are made. In fact, these tags also offer a level of water resistance, generally unheard of for this form of electronic sticker-based security device.
As a level of proof of improvement, many a test has been done with these tags being dropped into a container of water, and still working effectively when walking through security gates. Quite impressive and really something unheard of with EAS tags of the past.
This by virtue of the improved technology provides a dramatic improvement in visibility by security gates, not only when attempts to obscure them by being held close to the body, but also if attempts to confuse the tags occur from being sandwiched between your hands for example. These are well-known limitations of older style tags, both of which could render a standard EAS tag invisible. Additional peace of mind for retailers and suppliers right there.
Traditionally, the manufacturing process required for these tags included some aggressive chemistry to allow the effective etching of the circuitry onto a substrate. This of course conspires to provide a not so eco-friendly product.
Taking a lead from the boffins in the semi-conductor industry, EAS tag development is now offering manufacturing techniques to derive much greener and eco-friendly security tags.
New technology has allowed the implementation of re-engineered aluminium etching processes that mimics manufacturing techniques from the semiconductor industry. This effectively means the circuitry etching process is much cleaner and greener.
Additional manufacturing benefits that now come from the EAS tag-making process, include an environmentally friendly by-product.
Rather than the etching process generating unusable waste that is difficult to dispose of, these new environmentally benign manufacturing techniques now produce a valuable by-product.
What used to be difficult to dispose of, now can be reused within other industries, including paper manufacturers as part of their processes, and water treatment facilities for use as a precipitant to aid with the breakdown of impurities.
Always looking to the future
The EAS tags used for decades in the retail setting have evolved offering not only enhanced security features but also to have a place within our eco-friendly paths and our drives to find all possible ways of reducing negative impacts on our world.
As the global cleaner, greener philosophy grows, we continue to develop our range of sustainable solutions for people and the planet, with these eco-friendly security tags just one example.
Contact us today if you would like to know more about how we can help you protect your precious products whilst keeping your own environmental sustainability goals intact.
If you would like more information about offerings, our (eco) friendly and experienced team will be happy to answer any questions you might have.