Neil Matthews, vice president and general manager at Checkpoint Systems, has top tips for preventing false alarms in retail environments at Christmas
Shopper traffic in the UK increases by nearly 100% between the first Saturday in November and the last couple of days before Christmas. In the same period, retailers are expected to lose an estimated £1bn as a result of shoplifting, dishonest employees and vendor or distribution losses. It is therefore vital that retailers protect themselves against increased cases of theft, whilst ensuring the customer base has an enjoyable shopping experience without the inconvenience of false alarms.
False alarms are not only frustrating and embarrassing for consumers, but also waste valuable employee time. For retailers to protect consumers and employees from possible inconvenience, every alarm must be treated as if it is real.
Here are eight tips to guard against false alarms and help ensure a positive shopper experience:
Test your EAS antennas
Store employees should first ensure all antennas and security equipment are working correctly. These tests should ideally be carried out each day before the store opens.
Check your deactivation systems
One of the most frequent causes of deactivation failures for retailers often occurs because the unit is not plugged in correctly, or because it’s been unplugged accidently. Store employees need to make sure that all deactivation systems are plugged in and working correctly. Modern deactivation systems are designed to integrate seamlessly into point of sale procedures, ensuring the effortless deactivation of security tags – when plugged in and fully operational.
Deactivate at Point of Sale
One of the main causes of false alarms are tags, which have not been correctly removed from the merchandise at the point of sale. Hard tags and labels need to be correctly deactivated and/or removed at the point of sale to avoid causing the consumer an inconvenience or delay leaving the store. Modern deactivation products are designed to easily integrate at the POS with newer solutions now offering increasingly improved detection capabilities and range. This ensures a rapid checkout for your customer and worry free deactivation, every time – no matter what the size or position of the EAS label used.
Watch out for tag pollution
Tag pollution from other stores does happen. This occurs when non-deactivated tags from other stores are carried out by consumers causing unwanted alarms. As a result, these alarms decrease the effectiveness and integrity of installed EAS systems. Ensure your employees are correctly trained as per your head office policies on tag pollution.
Be aware of metallic articles
Tagged and/or metallic articles found in the vicinity of the EAS system, such as holiday decorations and displays, can cause interference. Taking more time to consider the layout and positioning of certain types of merchandise can also reduce the frequency of false alarms.
Ensure tag application is correct
An EAS label or hard tag not applied in the right place could pose problems for retailers during deactivation. For example, EAS labels should be positioned close to the barcode so employees do not need to scan the merchandise twice. By ensuring all products are universally tagged and the position of security labels is uniform, retailers can enjoy reduced false alarms.
In addition, by streamlining product tagging (or tagging products at the point of manufacture – source tagging) and integrating deactivation at the checkout or when a scanner is used at the Point of Sale (POS), retailers can prevent false alarms and keep merchandise protected without placing a significant burden on store employees.
The effectiveness of any EAS system is largely based on how colleagues interface with it. Training for new staff and refresher sessions with existing members of the team will help keep false alarms to a minimum.
Keep a log of alarms
Keeping a log of all alarm activations will help to keep track of false alarms too and help to identify whether they are caused by a staff member or a system error.
By reducing false alarms and ensuring EAS systems can effectively prevent theft, retailers can keep products-on-shelves and ensure customer satisfaction and reputation is safeguarded during the holiday season.
(A Retail Times’ sponsored article)