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Understanding Retail Shrink: The Importance of an Effective EAS System

August 9, 2023


Retail shrinkage, or the loss of inventory due to various factors, continues to be a major concern for retailers worldwide. In the U.S. alone, shrink in 2021 reached a staggering $94.5 billion, up from $90.8 billion in 2020, according to the National Retail Federation. The pandemic has further exacerbated the issue, with an increase in violence, shoplifting, organized retail crime, and employee theft reported by retailers. To mitigate the impact of shrinkage on their bottom line, retailers can invest in an effective Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) system. In this blog post, we explore the benefits of EAS and why it's essential to have a properly installed and monitored system.

ROI on EAS Security Systems

One of the primary benefits of an EAS system is that it has an expected lifespan of about 10-15 years and reliably protects a store 24/7 with few, if any, false alarms. When implemented, retailers can expect to see a loss reduction of up to 60% to 80%, depending on the type of retail environment. EAS systems have a significant deterrent effect, making stores less of a target for shoplifters and taking pressure off staff, allowing them to focus on their primary roles.

Sales of test items in control stores without EAS underperformed those in EAS locations, and item "sell-through" improves when EAS is in use. This means that fewer items go missing, and retailers can increase their sales and profits.

Benefits of Properly Installed & Monitored EAS System

A properly installed and monitored EAS system can benefit retailers in several ways, including:

  1. Decreased shrink - EAS systems help deter shoplifters and minimize losses due to employee theft or administrative errors.
  2. Increased customer service - With less theft and shrink, retailers can focus on providing better customer service.
  3. Decreased theft of multiple packages - EAS systems offer an effective way to protect products that are often targeted by thieves, such as electronics and high-end products.
  4. Decreased administrative error/waste - By reducing the chances of theft, EAS systems can minimize paperwork and administrative errors resulting from lost inventory.
  5. Increased approach confidence - Customers are more likely to shop at stores when they feel safe and secure in a store.
  6. Theft deterrence - EAS systems act as a visual deterrent for shoplifters, making them less likely to steal from a store.
  7. Increased sales/profits - With less shrink, retailers can focus on driving sales and increasing their profits.
  8. Open merchandising - EAS systems allow for open merchandising, giving customers a better view of products and making them more likely to purchase.
  9. Decrease out-of-stocks - With fewer items stolen, retailers can maintain their inventory levels and minimize out-of-stock situations.


Retail shrink continues to be a major issue for retailers, and the pandemic has made it worse. An effective EAS system can minimize losses due to theft, while providing numerous other benefits such as increased sales and improved customer service. At a time when every penny counts, retailers cannot afford to ignore the importance of an EAS system. As an Asset Protection and Loss Prevention professional, investing in an EAS system is a cost-effective way to reduce losses and improve the overall shopping experience for customers