One of the major challenges facing the retail store industry is retail crime, including theft and shoplifting. Shrink refers to the reduction of stock due to shoplifting, employee theft, and other retail errors that significantly impact a retailer’s bottom line. Around $100billion are lost worldwide due to retail crime; therefore, shrink is a global enemy for retailers. Thankfully electronic article surveillance (EAS) technology advanced at the opportune moment.

An eas system is an alarm system triggered whenever someone leaves a retail store with a product that has an active tag attached to it. This system is employed in retail stores and public buildings to prevent shoplifting and theft of valuable property. It is an excellent solution against casual and even organized retail theft.

Types of eas technologies

There are different types of eas technologies that you can utilize as a retailer to prevent shrinking and protect your business. They include acoustic magnetic (AM), radio frequency (RF), and radio frequency identification (RFI) to avoid the loss of inventory. To preserve your bottom line, you have to overcome the complexities of implementing an eas system optimized for your store layout, product range, and business goals.

The pros and cons of each eas system depend on its underlying technology and, most importantly, the frequency band used to detect anti-theft tags and labels. You only have to explore your options, benefits, and limitations to find a solution that works best to achieve your business goals.

All eas systems involve electronic communication between a reader that sends an electromagnetic signal, and the tag responds. The ability to carry information, range, noise immunity, and resistance to the measures in place determine the effectiveness of the technology. But all these factors depend on the frequency that created the link. Let’s look at them below.

Acousto-Magnetic (AM)

An acousto- magnetic technology communicates at a low frequency of 58khz, that is, 58000 cycles per second and a tight band of ± 600 Hz similar to ± 1%. This kind of eas technology is one bit, which means that it detects tags that resonate within the mentioned frequency but do not send additional information.

Radiofrequency (RF)

Radiofrequency systems send out pulses at 8.2mhz, which is 140times more than acousto-magnetic technology. Its frequency band is ± 1MHz, equivalent to 12 percent. But like AM technology, the RF technology also detects tags within that resonate at this frequency.

Radiofrequency identification (RFI)

Initially developed for military applications and the space industry, retailers utilize RFID to store EPC inventory visibility, especially fashion retailing. It communicates at a frequency as high as 902-928mhz. Therefore it sends out pulses 100 times higher than RF technology but at a narrower frequency band of 1%. RFID is a different communication technology than AM and RF technologies since it responds to the RFID reader with data and other product-related information. So, it does not only confirm the presence of a product.

The bottom line

Whatever kind of a retail store it is, installing an eas system can help you prevent retail theft and shoplifting to protect your profits. AM, RF, and RFID are all available solutions to meet your retailing needs.

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