They may not be the most glamorous side of retail, but the right EAS security tags and labels go a long way to protecting merchandise against theft.
If your store is on the lookout for new tags or labels, here’s what you need to know…
Frequency is the first thing you need to factor in when considering which tags and labels will serve you best.
Electronic Article Surveillance operates on one of two frequencies; acousto magnetic (AM) and radio frequency (RF), and tags and labels are available to suit each.
You can learn more about the differences between RF and AM here, but the type of system your store has installed will dictate whether you need to be looking at RF or AM labels and tags.
Tag or label?
These labels are deactivated at the point of sale as part of the sales transaction, rather than detached.
In most cases it’s the value of the item, its size and the volume it is sold at that determines whether you should be looking at tags or labels.
As a rough guide:
Tags – Are suited to clothing, apparel, fashion accessories, handbags, shoes etc (you can learn more about selecting the right tag here)
Labels – Are suited to non-perishable groceries, pharmaceuticals, electronic accessories, perfumes, small items etc (You can learn more about selecting the right label here)
Which strength tag?
When it comes to security tags, the magnetic locking mechanism that secures them to a product is available in a variety of strengths.
That strength ranges from standard to superlock, hyperlock and multipolar. The stronger the magnetic strength, the harder it is for thieves to remove a tag illicitly. We recommend superlock as the minimum strength, with anything above that offering additional security.
In a nutshell, that means if you’re a high value fashion retailer, you should be looking at the stronger tag options to protect items from theft.
What pinhead size?
The pin is the part of a security tag that passes through the merchandise and into the locking mechanism where the EAS transmitter is housed.
The size of its pinhead affects how easy it is to illegally remove the tag by pushing it through or cutting a small hole in the product.
Round pin heads that are large or correspond in size with the security tag are considered the hardest to remove.
What type of label?
As we mentioned, the frequency of the label (RF or AM) depends on the system you have installed, however, some frequency labels are better suited to specific product types than others.
- Are well-suited to retailers with high volumes of packaged products which require a flat paper label that can even be printed on
- Are often favored by supermarkets, discount stores, book stores and video stores
- Caution should be applied when using for RF labels with metallic or foil products or packaging due to tag detuning and reduced detection
- Are well-suited to the protection of merchandise with a high metal/foil content such as consumer electronics, cosmetics, hardware, and pharmaceuticals.
- Offer a slightly raised profile
- Are often favored by drug stores, cosmetic stores, electronics retailers, and hardware outlets
What tag or label for what product?
Should I buy in bulk?
Bulk purchases of both tags and security labels allow a retail outlet to enjoy economies of scale.
However, the volume of tags and labels you need to purchase should be carefully weighed against the volume of stock you have, the age of security tags and whether they are due for an upgrade with improved strength.