In a self-service modern retail, as per reports from experts, the loss from retail shrinkage accounts for 2% of total revenue. Retail shrinkage is a reduction in inventory (physical and book) due to shoplifting, employee theft, paperwork errors and supplier fraud. The shoplift alone accounts for more than 50% of retail shrinkage.
RFID EAS Technology: How it works?
The Radio Frequency Identification based Electronic Article Surveillance (RFID EAS) is the most popular technology in EAS system. The advantage of RF EAS system is mature, high availability, and cost effective. It is independent of the point of sale and inventory software.
- Electronic Sensors (AKA detector, eas gate etc)
- Deactivator System (AKA detacher, deactivator etc) and
- Label or Tag. (AKA hard tag, soft tag, reusable tags etc)
How it looks like?
- Accuracy: The use of EAS systems does not completely eliminate shoplifting. However, experts say, theft can be reduced by 60 percent or more when a reliable system is used. Even when a shoplifter manages to leave the store with a tagged item, the tag still must be removed, something that is not so easy.
- False Alarm: A major concern with these systems is when false alarms occur. A false alarm (or false positive) is when the alarms go off when a person passes through the gate without having stolen any merchandise. This most often is due to tags on merchandise not being properly deactivated but other factors such as bringing in items from other stores, even keyrings can set off the alarm
- Tag orientation is relative to the detection loops. This shortcoming is solved by using multiple coils or by placing them in another arrangement such as a figure-of-eight. Sensitivity will still be orientation-dependent but detection will be possible at all orientations.
- Shielding: Most systems can be compromised by placing the tagged goods in a bag lined with aluminium foil. The booster bag will act as a Faraday cage, shielding the tags from the antennas. Although the amount of shielding required depends on the system, its sensitivity, the distance and orientation of the tags with relative to its antennas, total enclosure of tags is not strictly necessary. Indeed, some shoplifters use clothes lined with aluminium foil. The shielding technique is well-known amongst shoplifters and store owners. To deter the use of booster bags, some stores have add-on metal detector systems which sense metallic surfaces.
- Jamming: Like most systems that rely on transmission of electromagnetic signals through a hostile medium, EAS sensors can be rendered inoperative by jamming. Although jamming is easy to perform, using easy-to-build transmitters, it is also easy to detect. A simple firmware upgrade should be adequate for modern DSP-based EAS systems to detect jamming. Nevertheless, the vast majority of EAS systems do not currently detect jamming.
- Occasional v/s informed shoplifters: EAS systems provide an effective prevention good check against casual theft. The occasional shoplifter, not being familiar with these systems and their mode of operation, will either get caught by them, or will refrain from stealing, but informed shoplifters can in many cases remove or deactivate tags. However they may miss some tags or may be unable to remove or deactivate all of them, especially if concealed or embedded tags are used. (As a service to retailers, some manufacturers embed security tags in the packaging of their products, or even inside the product itself.) Ink-releasing tags known as benefit denial tags may reduce the rate of successful tag removal. Also, deactivating or detaching tags may be spotted by the shop staff.