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How Do EAS Labels Work?

Electronic article surveillance, or EAS, is a type of technology that prevents shoplifting. EAS is most often used in anti-theft systems in retail stores but can also be found in libraries and office buildings. EAS usually involves three components:

  • At least one electronic antenna
  • A deactivator or detacher
  • An electronic tag

The antenna is typically found in EAS system pedestals installed at a store’s entrances. Though tags used to only be available in clunky form factors with limited applications, today you can use EAS labels that come in a range of shapes and sizes. Suited to high-volume, low-value merchandise like books, CDs, hardware, non-perishable groceries, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, EAS labels are available in both acousto-magnetic (AM) and radio-frequency (RF) systems.

How EAS Labels Work

EAS labels work the same way EAS tags do: they stay in constant communication with a store’s EAS system and trigger an alarm to sound if they pass the EAS pedestals without being properly deactivated. Unlike EAS tags, EAS labels are essentially flat stickers and can be easily and quickly adhered to products.

The adhesive side of an EAS label has a printed circuit that contains all the technology needed to make it work with an EAS system. The only requirements are that the printed circuit must remain undamaged, and the EAS label must be placed on a flat surface and not folded or bent.

It is recommended that you avoid sticking the EAS label on or near metallic items, as to not disturb the printed circuit. Just like EAS tags, you only need one EAS label per item.

Protect Your Merchandise with CONTROLTEK EAS Labels

Our high-performance EAS labels can help you protect a variety of products in flexible and unobtrusive ways. We offer EAS labels in different shapes and sizes with custom color and printing options, as well as specialty materials and glues for food packaging, health and beauty, apparel, electronics and other versatile uses.

Why Do You Need a Fitting Room Security Solution?

For many clothing retailers, the fitting room is one of the biggest challenges in the battle against shoplifting. One of the best ways you can enhance your retail security is by adding a fitting room security solution to your arsenal.

Fitting Room Theft

A fitting room is a necessary part of any clothing retail store because it gives your customers a private space to try on clothing and decide if they want to purchase it. But the issue that comes with offering customers this privacy is that shoplifters will inevitably take advantage of it.

The best way to protect your fitting rooms is to install security solutions specifically designed for them. These solutions can detect the presence of booster bags, which is a type of bag lined with multiple layers of aluminum foil that provide electromagnetic shielding to prevent clothing security tags from being detected by the antennae of retail security systems.

Some other ways to deter theft include:

  • Fitting room attendants who count garments in and out
  • Visible security cameras and public-view monitors outside a fitting room entrance
  • Fitting rooms located in high-traffic areas
  • Chimes to alert store associates when a customer enters and exits a fitting room area

Catch Shoplifters in the Act with CONTROLTEK

CONTROLTEK’s fitting room solutions use the latest technology to help you fight fitting room theft. The ApparelGuard detects magnet detachers to catch shoplifters in the act, while the HyperGuard detects booster bags to stop shoplifters before they can make their move. Contact us today to learn more about deploying these retail security solutions in your store.

How to Prepare Your Retail Store for Black Friday

Black Friday is just around the corner, which means it’s time for retailers to prepare their stores for a higher volume of customers — and a greater risk of theft. Customer shoplifting is the number one source of shrink for retailers, but there are many ways you can fight shrink during the holiday season.

Train Your Employees

Store employees who provide excellent customer service is one of the simplest ways to deter theft, and it already aligns with your goals as a retailer. Here are more ways your employees can help you reduce shrink:

Spot counterfeit money. When employees learn how to spot fake money, they can help reduce the chances of a business suffering a loss of thousands of dollars. Counterfeit money pens and detectors are an easy way to help store associates spot counterfeit money. There are also a few ways to visually detect counterfeit money, such as checking a bill for color-shifting ink or an authentic watermark, which an employee can quickly and easily perform at checkout.

Actively manage store inventory. If there’s ever a time that a certain item in your store is going to sell out quickly, it’s during Black Friday. With a higher volume of customers and sales, it can be easy for employees to become overwhelmed and fall behind on inventory management. Implementing an inventory management system can help by making it easy for your employees to scan and view inventory anywhere in store, even from your point-of-sale system.

Protect Your Merchandise

Another line of defense against shoplifting is protecting your products from theft. EAS tags and labels come in a variety of form factors and technologies so you can apply them to nearly any kind of product. They can even be integrated with your inventory management system if you use RFID technology.

With so many customers entering your store, your first step should be to deter theft wherever possible. An ink tag, such as the InkGuard, provides both visual deterrence and benefit denial without requiring you to install an EAS system in your store, making it the perfect tag for small businesses. The tag can only be safely removed using a powerful magnetic detacher at checkout. Otherwise, when the tag is improperly removed, the ink will explode and damage the item, which discourages shoplifters from stealing. This type of tag is ideal for protecting denim, apparel and designer wear.

Boxed gift sets and electronics are incredibly popular during the holiday season, but they often cannot be protected with the typical EAS pin tag. A tag specifically designed for boxed merchandise, such as our SurfaceTag, can protect your products without interfering with the customer experience. The SurfaceTag is an excellent alternative to other cable-based tags designed for boxed merchandise, which can often be time consuming to remove and annoying to the customer.

How CONTROLTEK Can Help You Prepare

Supplying state-of-the-art EAS and RFID tags. CONTROLTEK’s wide range of EAS and RFID tags and labels offer many options to protect almost any product you can think of. Our tags are compatible with both RF and AM systems, and many can be converted to RFID technology as well.

Installing EAS and RFID systems on time and correctly the very first time. Our First Time Right™ promise has resulted in over 97 percent of EAS and RFID system installations being fully completed on the first visit, one of the highest rates in the loss prevention industry. We document every single installation, and to be rated as First Time Right™ each one must be signed off by our customer.

Providing tamper-evident retail deposit bags. More customers during the holidays means an increase in cash flow. CONTROLTEK’s industry-leading cash deposit bags for retailers have tamper-evident security features and easy-to-use seals to speed up the cash deposit process for your employees.

CONTROLTEK has solutions for every retailer who wants to boost their store’s security in time for the holiday season. Contact us to start fighting shrink today!

What is an EAS System?

What is an EAS System?

Electronic article surveillance, or EAS, is a type of technology that prevents shoplifting. EAS is most often used in retail stores but can also be found in libraries and office buildings. EAS usually involves three components:

  • At least one electronic antenna
  • A deactivator or detacher
  • An electronic tag

How an EAS System Works

The process is quite simple. First, an EAS tag or label must be attached to an item, and EAS antennae are installed at the store’s entry and exit points. When a customer purchases an item, a store employee removes the tag or deactivates the label with an EAS tag remover. After the tag has been removed or the label is deactivated, the customer can then leave the store without alarm the antennae. If a tag or label is still active when passing through the antennae, the EAS system will sound an EAS alert to alert the staff.

Today, EAS tags come in a wide range of form factors. The most common forms are a pin that goes through the item, a label attached to the item’s tags and a loop attached to the item. The electronic antennae, sometimes referred to as pedestals, make up the EAS system that detects active tags.

What is Source Tagging?

Source tagging is the process of applying an EAS tag or label to a product’s packaging or to the product itself at the point of manufacture or packaging, rather than in store by retail employees. This process leaders to greater retail chain efficiencies, increased sales, lower shrink and higher profitability.

By having product vendors, manufacturers and product packaging companies attach EAS tags and labels to products and packaging ahead of time, retailers can eliminate the high cost and inefficiency of in-store tagging, and the process of moving products to the sales floor is much faster.

EAS made EASy

No one can argue we’re in a time when technology seems to be moving faster than we can keep up with it.  That may be why EAS (Electronic Article Surveillance) technology seems to be elusive and confusing when it comes to its evolution and modern capabilities. Well…it isn’t and doesn’t have to be. This article will attempt to break down very succinctly the evolution of EAS without too much “geek speak,” and will give the LP professional a quick, useful explanation of how this technology has advanced in an effort to support retail’s ever-changing needs.

If you’re a person who finds the need to be lost in a wonderland of amorphous metals and magnetic saturation values, STOP READING NOW, this ain’t for you!

In The Beginning

The history of EAS began in the ‘60s.  Three influential pioneers recognized the need for this type of technology. They were Arthur J. Minasy, Ronald G. Assaf, and Albert E. “Ted” Wolf.  The technology was needed, but not only in the retail space.  Wolf was originally developing and utilizing EAS technology for protection of books in libraries.  However, due to the expanding retail market and the foothold both Minasy and Assaf were gaining there, he quickly followed suit.  By the early to mid ‘70s, the three were in a proverbial foot race to conquer markets and make fortunes. A lot happened over the next 20-30 years regarding company spin-offs, legal battles, technology shifts & development, and EAS’ overall use.  The technology was found very useful, but its application needed tweaking multiple times on many fronts to meet the needs of retail.  This challenge, coupled with competition and pressure to have the best technology, got quite precarious to say the least.

Amorphous Metals & Magnetic Saturation Values

Alright, this is it! This will be all you get when it comes to “geek speak.” Presently, there are essentially four technologies or systems utilized in the EAS world.  These systems are RF (Radio-frequency) Systems, AM (Acousto-Magnetic) Systems, EM (Electro-Magnetic) Systems and Microwave Systems.  There are combo systems such as RFID (Radio-frequency identification) whereby the tags hold information and the radio frequency tracks the individual tags.  Each technology utilizes electro-magnetic energy and therefore, the signals can interfere with other electronic devices. While all utilize electro-magnetic energy, that is pretty much where the similarities end.  Over the course of time, each technology has been employed in various applications. Even the designs of EAS tags have changed as various learnings occurred.  With that said, each technology has both demonstrated value and some challenges.  Store layouts, types of merchandise, customer service, and different business models play significant roles in the technology employed.  Each technology should be researched, and advice from industry professionals should be sought in order to ensure all needs will be met with whichever technology is chosen.

Source-Tagging: The Final Link

Technology to the side, there has been other critical “tipping points” for EAS in its history.  The most important has been the drive for “source-tagging”.  This is applying the EAS device at the manufacturer or at the retailer’s own distribution center rather than at the store.  If you’ve been in retail for any length of time you know that for every breath a store employee takes, there is an equation for how that breath impacts the labor budget for that store.  Early EAS users were applying tags in merchandise receiving rooms, but operators quickly realized this was a labor drain that detracted from a sales floor presence and customer service.

In the early ‘90’s source-tagging began taking off, but not without its own challenges.  EAS manufacturers were developing their latest and greatest systems while also attempting to rollout source-tagging.   Among the many challenges, applying EAS tags to merchandise had to be precise, and bulky deactivation devices used for removing the tags at the POS affected customer wait times and overall shopping experiences. However, the EAS suppliers who slowed down, embraced these challenges, and developed a strong R&D function that involved retailers at the onset, were the ones that have realized longevity in the industry and have proven they are “partners” in reducing shrink and increasing bottom line profits.

CONTROLTEK is one of those partners. In fact, CONTROLTEK has not only developed ControlSpan™, an inventory tracking system that utilizes affordable RFID technology within the EAS system, but can handle all source-tagging needs as well. Visit Controltekusa.com to review their products in the EAS arena and see how they can partner with you to meet your EAS needs.

About CONTROLTEK

Since 1976, we have been delivering unique products and solutions to the cash-transfer and asset protection industries to address specific business challenges.  Our company has grown steadily based on the quality of our products and the quality of our service. Our commitment to research and development is combined with a willingness to listen to the people who everyday depend on our products. By relentlessly researching and introducing new materials and new features, we are proud to say we have impacted the way assets are secured globally.

With experience gained through research and collaboration within the financial and retail sectors, we actively charted a course over the past several years to bring added value, new thinking and viable approaches, addressing the dilemmas and challenges that frustrate business professionals today.

During this process, we realigned our resources within CONTROLTEK, creating three silos (ISS, ISP and IVS).  This enables us to focus more specifically on the needs of our Clients and their specific challenges they face on a daily basis.  Additionally, CONTROLTEK has aligned itself with Global partners to provide holistic solutions that solve today’s challenges.   Whatever the application, CONTROLTEK resources stand by ready to deliver results that enable commerce and effectively secure assets at financial institutions and leading retailers across the globe.

Complacency: The Risk That Comes with Lower Shrink

While inventory shrink is still an issue in the retail industry, this year’s statistics indicate loss prevention efforts have been paying off.
The 2015 National Retail Security Survey showed a 1.38 percent average in inventory shrink (as a percent to sales) during the previous year, totaling $44 billion in losses, Security InfoWatch reported. While retailers are still losing a considerable amount, this year’s shrink percentage was the lowest ever recorded in the 24 years the survey has been taken.
Top Threats Contributing to Inventory Shrinkage

“This year’s shrink percentage was the lowest ever recorded in the 24 years the survey has been taken.”
An average of 1.38 percent inventory shrink is still a significant figure, which takes into account several different sources. According to this year’s survey, customer shoplifting accounted for 38 percent of shrinkage last year. In addition, 34.5 percent of losses came due to employee theft, and another 16.5 percent was the result of administrative and paperwork errors. The final 6.8 percent was due to vendor fraud.

These numbers illustrate the array of threats today’s retailers face, including professional thieves and internal theft. Dr. Richard Hollinger, lead author of the survey and criminology professor at the University of Florida, noted that this year’s results showed a significant change. Previous surveys attributed a larger percentage of inventory shrinkage to employee theft.
“For years, I have been criticized by some retailers who didn’t believe that internal theft was bigger than the shoplifting numbers and that’s been the case for the over 20 years we’ve done this study,” Hollinger said. “This year, for the first time, that number flipped so that a larger portion of the loss was attributed to shoplifting and organized retail crime as opposed to internal theft.”
Hollinger pointed out that not only is this a reflection of the increasing activities of shoplifters, but could also show that retailers are now more effectively deploying internal theft prevention strategies. Video surveillance and other security solutions have also helped curb losses.

Further Prevention of Retail Shrink

While this year’s survey showed an overall reduction in inventory shrink, this doesn’t mean retailers should cease efforts when it comes to product security. In fact, as outlined in our infographic below, the industry is avoiding complacency by placing a higher priority on loss prevention, with 40 percent of all retailers increasing their loss prevention budgets.
So what solutions and best practices can retailers utilize in the continuing fight against retail shrink?

  • Deploy video surveillance: Hollinger pointed out that video surveillance and connected analytics software have been of considerable aid in reducing theft and loss.
  • Improve merchandise security: Solutions including intelligent EAS systems can help boost the protection of individual items, helping to ensure that merchandise doesn’t leave the store until after a transaction has been completed.
  • Leverage advanced tracking: RFID solutions including tags, doorway readers and handheld readers provide an unmatched level of visibility into operations and inventory, unparalleled process management and compliance monitoring, and reinvents how retailers discover and resolve shrink beyond the capabilities of traditional EAS.

However, this only scratches the surface of the inventory visibility, security and intelligent packaging solutions available. To find out more and establish a unique loss prevention and product security strategy for your store, contact CONTROLTEK today.

About CONTROLTEK
Since 1976, we have been delivering unique products and solutions to the cash-transfer and asset protection industries to address specific business challenges.  Our company has grown steadily based on the quality of our products and the quality of our service. Our commitment to research and development is combined with a willingness to listen to the people who everyday depend on our products. By relentlessly researching and introducing new materials and new features, we are proud to say we have impacted the way assets are secured globally.
With experience gained through research and collaboration within the financial and retail sectors, we actively charted a course over the past several years to bring added value, new thinking and viable approaches, addressing the dilemmas and challenges that frustrate business professionals today.
During this process, we realigned our resources within CONTROLTEK, creating three silos (ISS, ISP and IVS).  This enables us to focus more specifically on the needs of our Clients and their specific challenges they face on a daily basis.  Additionally, CONTROLTEK has aligned itself with Global partners to provide holistic solutions that solve today’s challenges.   Whatever the application, CONTROLTEK resources stand by ready to deliver results that enable commerce and effectively secure assets at financial institutions and leading retailers across the globe.