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On September 12th, 2023

Can You Really Use Anti-Theft Tags on Any Product?


Anti-theft Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) tags are commonly used in retail stores of all sizes to prevent theft of items, and they often serve as a critical component of a company’s security system to protect inventory. In theory, these tags can be used on any type of product. But that being said, there are certain “best practices” that can make anti-theft tags even more effective for your business. Taking a customized approach is key!

How EAS and Anti-Theft Tags Work

Today’s solutions for EAS tags and anti-theft systems come in various shapes in forms, but the general approach is still the same. On the basic level, there are two parts. The detection system antennas are set up at the exit or entrance of the store, and then there are the anti-theft tags themselves, which you can then attach to various retail items. When a tagged item passes through this field without being deactivated or removed, it triggers an alarm to alert staff to a possible theft.

Retailers can choose from hard tags or soft tags for their anti-theft system. The hard tags are typically made of rigid plastic or metal, whereas soft tags are flexible stickers. Each type of EAS tag has its own pros and cons.

If you’re looking to tag clothing, for example, then you would usually opt for hard tags, since they have a pin that can lock the tag to the item. Hard tags also tend to be better suited for larger and bulkier items, such as handbags, electronics, and high-value merchandise. Since soft tags are made with adhesive backing, they’re often the better choice for smaller items like CDs and books, or other common targets of theft, such as cosmetics or pharmaceuticals.

Once the tags and antenna sensors are in place, these anti-theft systems can serve as a great deterrent to would-be shoplifters. Because whenever an item with an active EAS tag passes through the electromagnetic field created by the storefront’s antennas, it will trigger an alarm to alert staff to a potential theft.

When a customer purchases an item, however, a cashier or store employee will then be able to deactivate or removes the EAS tag at the checkout counter using a specialized device or deactivation pad. This process may involve magnetism, radio frequency (RF), or other methods depending on the type of EAS system used. Then shoppers can exit the store without any fuss. They made their purchase and the EAS tags would have either been removed or deactivated, so the alarm won’t sound, giving everyone more peace of mind.

The Best Ways to Use EAS Tagging

EAS tags can be used on a wide variety of products, but the choice of tag type and technology should be based on the specific needs of the retailer, the nature of the products being protected, and any potential limitations or sensitivities associated with certain items.

For example, some items may be sensitive to the presence of EAS tags, and due to their nature, you may need to utilize another type of anti-theft process. Selling electronic devices, medical equipment, or magnetic storage media may need special consideration to avoid interference or damage caused by EAS tags. So it’s definitely worth taking a look at your inventory to make sure your new system will be a good fit.

Another question will relate to your brand aesthetics. It’s always a good idea for retailers to consider the appearance of EAS tags from the shopper’s experience. You obviously need to protect your inventory. But at the same, you don’t want your anti-theft efforts to detract from the overall shopping experience or the presentation of your products. It’s all about striking the right balance to lower your retail shrinkage, without compromising new sales.

Custom Anti-Theft Solutions to Protect Your Bottom Line

While EAS tags can be especially helpful for both busy retailers and small-scale stores alike, it’s important to note that EAS systems are not foolproof. They’re certainly an effective solution for preventing theft, but determined shoplifters may still find ways to remove the tags or defeat the system before they can be caught.

Combing your new EAS system with security cameras can help take your efforts to deter theft and identify shoplifters and even further—and no matter where you’re at in the process, our team at Enhanced Telecommunications and Data can help!

Whether you’re looking to upgrade to a brand-new EAS system, or you’re ready to install a comprehensive video surveillance system to help keep an eye on every corner of your store, we can work together to design a solution that will protect you from all types of threats. Please don’t hesitate to send us a message if you’d like to start a conversation!

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