Small Tag, Big Impact

One of the starkest realities of retail theft is the number of missed sales that come about as the result of customers not being able to find the products they want on store shelves. But as anti-theft tagging technology has evolved, retailers have been able to reduce shrink rates by more than 20 percent — in some product categories, by as much as 50 percent — and that’s translated into increased sales.



Those are the results from a new form of radio frequency electronic article surveillance label from Checkpoint Systems. Enhanced performance (EP) specialty labels are smaller than standard EAS labels, in some cases by as much as half; they’re thinner as well, able to fit on smaller-size high-shrink products like cosmetics, baby products and apparel.

Positive brand image


EP tags are sturdier than standard labels and able to withstand integration into products at processing temperatures as high as 350 degrees. The transparency of the tags allows for maintained legibility of package directions and enables visible tagging; that generates a positive brand image for stores, says Checkpoint president and COO Farrokh Abadi, because consumer studies done by independent market researchers “discovered that customers feel safer when they’re in a retail environment that they see is taking steps to prevent theft and protect shoppers.”


Feedback from store managers involved in the initial rollout confirmed what the studies discovered, he says. Today, Checkpoint’s EP specialty tags are being used in several product categories in more than 30,000 stores globally. Checkpoint makes the tags using a new material – biaxially oriented polypropylene – in designs tailored to each product category. Innovations exclusive to Checkpoint, Abadi says, allow retailers “to tag more products and to tag them at a read/detectability rate 40 percent higher than standard tags.”


The tags are typically integrated into products at the manufacturer, which saves labor time costs for retailers. The cost, he says, is equal to or slightly more than the cost of standard tags.

Checkpoint can provide “on-demand printing” within its EP labels, so retailers can have a store name and address printed on the label. If the product is ever stolen and then recovered, law enforcement agents can easily identify the product’s originating store.

Helps increase sales


Abadi says Checkpoint has sold “billions” of EP tags in the two years they have been available.

He adds that, depending on product category, the savings have been significant — not just from reduced shrink but also from increased sales, which have averaged around 20 percent; in some cases, retailers saw sales gains of 50 to 60 percent because of increased shelf availability.

One retailer that initially displayed an expensive skin cream under glass saw sales of the product increase 90 percent after EP labels were applied and the skin cream was re-merchandised on an open shelf.


Although footwear does not typically experience shrink rates as high as those for products like cosmetics, baby formula and razor blades, Abadi notes that fashion shoes are “the fastest-growing retail product category in terms of shrink,” which is why Checkpoint debuted an EP specialty label for shoes in November.

Last month, Checkpoint introduced EP specialty tags for fresh foods, including what Abadi describes as “super improved meat, seafood, deli and cheese labels” as well as EP tags for metallic or foil-packaged products like canned baby formula.