In the highly effective world of Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS), security tags and labels are available to suit all sorts of products, meaning there’s a wealth of choice for retailers looking to harness the power of product-based security.
But with so many options available, it begs the question, what tag or label would I use for that?
Here’s a quick guide to when a tag or label suits best and what type of tag or label should be employed to best protect a product against theft.
Tags or labels?
Whether you opt for a hard tag or adhesive security label depends on a range of factors including the type of product you are looking to protect, its value and the volume sold.
As a general rule of thumb, hard tags are used to protect high-value items like clothing, fashion accessories, and electronics. These items tend to command a higher price and are sold in single transactions or transactions involving only a few items.
This allows the tag to be detached at the point of sale without causing undue delay to the consumer or an excessive impost on the sales associate.
Obvious to the consumer, the tags also act as a deterrent against shoplifting. Tags are then available with further deterrents like ink-dye pins, which discharge indelible ink into a product when the tag is tampered with, thereby rendering the item useless.
In contrast, labels are used for low-value, high-volume items like non-perishable groceries, hardware and pharmaceuticals.
These are the types of items that might be sold in bulk transactions, and the labels allow for easy deactivation at the point of sale, with a deactivator often incorporated into the POS scanner.
AM or RF?
In the world of EAS, there are two major types of labels and tags available – Acousto Magnetic (AM) and Radio Frequency (RF). The type of tag or label you select will depend on whether you have an RF or AM EAS detection system installed.
RF tags and labels range from an array of small ultra-thin adhesive labels through to a variety of hard tags and are suitable for numerous applications, including clothing, food and pharmaceutical products. RF labels can be printed on.
Who uses RF?
Radio Frequency EAS is perfectly suited to retailers with a high volume of packaged products due to the convenience of adhesive, flat tags.
That makes RF the system of choice for supermarkets, discount stores, chemists and video stores.
That said, the ability to upgrade some RF EAS systems to RFID means its usage has recently grown in apparel stores.
AM hard tags are also available in a range of sizes. When it comes to labels, AM options are often smaller than RF labels, but are not paper thin and instead have a raised profile.
The raised profile of AM labels is sometimes considered a drawback for retailers like grocery stores who sell small, high-turnover goods.
In the past, AM was traditionally more expensive to install than RF, however, due to increased competition, system costs have come down in recent years.
Who uses AM?
AM is more often seen in small to large clothing apparel outlets, large department stores, DIY shops, electronic shops, and pharmaceutical retailers where products have metallic components in their packaging.
What style of tag?
If a security tag is the option of choice, there are also additional factors to consider, like what type of product you are protecting.
While clothing lends itself to hard tags with pinheads, accessories like handbags and shoes often utilize lanyards or cables and tags so the tag can be affixed without needing to pass through the product.
Meanwhile, there are additional tag types for specific high-value products.
For example, optical items like sunglasses and reading glasses can be protected using purpose-made optical tags that are designed not to interfere with the consumer’s experience of a product yet protect each item individually.
In recent years bottle tags have also been developed which are designed to protect high-value liquor against theft. These tags sit snugly over the lid of the bottle, preventing it from being opened instore or stolen.
If you’re looking to better understand which type of tag or label best suits your retail environment, our friendly Security Tags staff are available to assist and can be contacted here.