Electronic Article Surveillance or EAS for short is a cost effective anti-shoplifting system that permits staff to focus on customers and not worry about theft. Often called shrinkage in the retail industry, preventing shoplifting can be one of the biggest drivers for increasing profits by a retailer.
EAS systems work by attaching an electronic device, called a “tag” or “label”, to the displayed merchandise. If merchandise bearing the electronic device passes by an antenna installed at the store entrance/exit, an alarm sounds alerting your staff that unpaid merchandise is leaving the store.
EAS systems work well as a visual deterrent to the casual shoplifter, letting them know they will be caught if they try to steal an item. For the more hardened criminal, the systems will notify the store staff when something is being stolen. Typically these systems will reduce a stores shoplifting losses by almost 70%, adding a strong lift to the bottom line.
For paying customers, when the customer brings his or her selection to the cash counter to pay for the item to be purchased, the sales clerk removes the tag from the item or deactivates the label on the item so that the alarm will not sound when the customer leaves the store with the purchased merchandise.
Three Types of EAS Systems
Radio Frequency (RF) Systems
RF systems work by installing an antenna at the store entrance/exit which creates a narrow, low-frequency, electro-magnetic radio field around itself. When a tag or label enters this field, it causes the antenna to alarm. The systems are offered in a variety of frequencies in the RF spectrum with 8.2MHz being the most popular. Other frequencies are 1.81, 1.95, 2.0, 3.25 and 4.7.
RF EAS Systems are most commonly used by retailers and tend to be the least expensive. Works well for apparel, shoes, sporting goods, liquor and housewares.
Acoustic Magnetic (AM) Systems
AM EAS works similar to the RF EAS System, but when the tag or label enters the field, it vibrates. It is this vibration which generates a signal that is picked up by the antenna. AM systems use a 58KHz frequency and are a nice option in environments that have a lot of radio noise from other sources.
AM EAS Systems work well for consumer electronic, home improvement, grocery and pharmaceuticals.
Electro Magnetic (EM) Systems
EM EAS System also works in a manner similar to the RF EAS System, but uses a different part of the electro-magnetic spectrum to communicate. The transmitting antenna sends a signal at a specific frequency and the receiving antenna waits and listens for a tag of specific frequency to enter the range of detection. If an active tag comes into the range of detection, it sends a signal to the receiving antenna which identifies a different frequency and sounds the alarm.
EM EAS Systems are the preferred choice of vendors of books and art supplies as the EM labels long and narrow - they are slightly larger than the width of a human hair and attach inconspicuously to the merchandised item. They can be deactivated and reactivated again which works well for checking out book and then checking them back in again.
Provent offers all three types of EAS security systems from various manufacturers, in different price ranges, and with many different feature sets. We would be pleased to review your merchandising approach and your store layout with you and give our recommendation of which system will work best for your store.
Types of EAS Antennas
Transceiver EAS Antennas
Transceiver EAS Antennas are single antennas which act both as a creator of a magnetic field and a receiver of input from that field. EAS Systems using transceiver antennas are the least expensive systems. They typically broadcast up to a metre (39 inches effectively, and one unit can cover a typical door. Two units can easily protect a double door and if spaced properly two units can also cover a 4 metre opening into a mall environment. Since the units broadcast and receive they typically do so in all directions thus tagged or labeled merchandise can not be placed too close to the installed antenna. Transceiver antennas are available for both RF and AM EAS Systems. These units are the most popular on the market today and come in a variety of form factors including the wildly popular Flashgate Clarity, clear acrylic system which looks very modern and elegant.
Multiple Antennas EAS Systems
The most common form of Multiple Antenna EAS Systems is the Single Aisle Dual Antenna EAS System in which more than one antennae are used to form an aisle to the store entrance. One of these antennas is a transmitter and the other is a receiver. The antennas create a low frequency radio wave field between them so that if tagged merchandise passes through this field, the tag or label on the merchandise is sensed by the antennas and causes an alarm.
The Single Aisle Dual Antenna System is used where the door opening into your store is more than one meter (36″) and is therefore too wide to employ an EAS Transceiver System. Because the focus of the radio wave field is between the antennas, this type of EAS System permits tagged or labeled merchandise to be placed within 2 meters (72″) of the EAS System.
When a door opening exceeds 2 meters (72″), additional EAS System antennas are installed to create additional aisles to the width of the door opening.
Provent provides three types of EAS antenna installations across nine available radio frequencies. The systems are available as transceiver, single aisle, and multi-aisle, in 1.81MHz, 1.95MHz, 1.99MHz, 2.0MHz, 3.25MHz, 4.6MHz, 4.7MHz, 4.8MHz and 8.2MHz. The type of installation that works best for a store will depend upon the size of the entrance door opening, whether the door opens inwards or out, and the merchandising plan.