Different types of security tags

Whether it’s clothing, high-end fashion accessories or liquor, protecting your merchandise using security tags is one of the most effective means of combatting shoplifting.

Not only do visible tags provide a deterrent to shoplifting, electronic article surveillance tags alert staff immediately to a potential theft. Together this helps combat a retail shrink phenomenon which the National Retail Federation says cost US retailers $46.8 billion last year alone.

If you’re looking to take advantage of the loss prevention strategy that is security tags, here’s an insight into the types, sizes and styles of tags available.

EAS, visual and benefit denial

Security tags can be broadly broken down into three main categories: electronic article surveillance (EAS) tags, visual deterrent tags and benefit denial.

EAS tags

Used by 73 per cent of retailers according to the most recent Global Retail Theft Barometer, EAS security tags are the most effective tag type to combat theft.

The EAS system sees tags in communication with an antenna housed near the entrance to a store. When the tagged item comes into proximity of this antenna, an alarm sounds, alerting staff to a potential threat.

There are two main EAS systems (radio frequency and acousto magnetic) and the difference is the frequency at which the tags and antenna operate.

Benefit denial

Benefit denial tags see the stolen merchandise negatively impacted when the thief tries to remove the tag. The most common form is ink dye tags which release indelible ink when the tag is tampered with, effectively rendering the stolen item useless.

Visual tags

Visual tags give the appearance that an EAS system is in place but do not actually have a receiver that communicates with an antenna.

This means they offer a visual deterrent for shoplifters rather than sounding an alarm and alerting staff when an item is being stolen.

In addition to different types of tags, there are different shapes and styles available which are designed to suit different merchandise.

Clothing tags

Clothing tags comprise three key elements; the tag (which houses the receiver in the case of EAS), the pin (which goes through the garment) and the locking mechanism (which secures the pin in place).

There are two widely used types of locking mechanisms available; magnetic and mechanical, with magnetic tags available in a series of strengths ranging from standard to SuperLock, HyperLock and Multi-polar.

The stronger the magnetic lock, the harder the tag is to illegally remove, which is why a minimum strength of SuperLock is recommended.

Some of the most common shapes for fashion tags include alligator tags, which have a hinge, pencil tags, which are long and thin, square tags, and round or shell tags. In terms of security, shell tags are the shape considered hardest to prise open and remove illegally.

In addition to the strength of the locking mechanism and shape of the tag, a key factor to consider when selecting clothing tags is the size of the pin-head. The larger the pinhead the less likely it is to be illegally removed by pulling it through the garment.

Fashion accessory tags

Whether the product is shoes, a handbag or jewelry, there are a range of options when it comes to securing accessories using security tags.

The most popular options include cable, strap and lanyard tags.

These use strong cables, ties or lanyards, affix the security tag to the accessory. These cables and lanyards often feature materials that are resistant to being cut, and the lanyard or strap can secure into the tag’s locking mechanism.

Bottle tags

One of the most frequently targeted items for theft is liquor bottles, with the Global Retail Theft Barometer noting spirits are often easy to conceal and can be resold at a high value.

In fact, wines and spirits are the number one food item targeted by shoplifters globally.

Bottle tags specifically target this type of theft, providing a visual deterrent in addition to EAS security.

Optical tags

For retailers of eyeglasses and sunglasses, merchandise security is a must. Classed as a fashion accessory, sunglasses sit in the second most commonly targeted theft category for the apparel and accessory sector.

Optical tags are specifically designed to sit in the arm of eyewear, allowing the consumer to try items on.

You can learn more about selecting the right tag for your retail outlet here .