Ian Eeles, MD of tagging manufacturer and distributor EAS Distributors Ltd., explains the potential value of tagging systems as part of an integrated networked security system.
Traditionally, security systems were installed in retail settings to detect and reduce theft, minimise losses and keep staff, customers and property safe. The increase in profit this achieved, more than paid for the system and its installation. Security systems have, however, moved on with advanced integrated systems having a highly significant role to play in maximising sales – a much more effective way of increasing profits than loss reduction. This dual function dramatically increases the value of an integrated security system to the retailer and tagging has a significant role to play.
An integrated security system allows all the different facets of security to interact with one another. We are all familiar with tags in retail applications, fitted to products that activate alarms if they pass through aerials positioned at doors. Integrated systems, on the other hand, using R.F.I.D., can identify if a tag is removed from an article of clothing and not accounted for at the POS (Point of Sale). This can then be related to relevant CCTV footage and access control information, to establish where the article went missing, who removed it and why. The data provides a clear picture of the sequence of events in any theft, even if staff are involved. Over time, patterns of staff or customer behaviour can be established.
An integrated tagging system can provide retailers with valuable people counting and footfall information. As well as having aerials located at the entrance and exit points in stores, they can be positioned at the ends of aisles. Using dual beam break technology, it is possible to establish directional flow through each aisle. This data helps the retailer optimise store layout and product placement to maximise buying behaviour. The aisle aerials can now include screens which give advertising or product information. This can be made relevant to aisle content or individual customers as they pass.
Integrated networked security systems provide the retailer with valuable management information that can be used to ensure a store is well run. For example, the number of tagged items that are deactivated at a till will indicate how busy the till is. The store manager can deploy staff accordingly.
Networked security, marketing and management systems, by definition need not be used at single store level. Management data from individual stores can be compared and buying patterns established. Products that are not selling well across all stores can be dropped; a store layout that works can be used throughout a whole chain; effective product placement can be established and also used throughout. All this information is coordinated via a networked PC.
The alarm data from a tagging system also provides a detailed profile of the nature of the alarms that have arisen. This enables installers to pre-empt service calls, as a result of close monitoring of the performance of a system. Installers can connect to a system via a laptop remotely and resolve many problems without going to site, avoiding an unwanted engineer presence around the store entrance or worse, closing doors.
The diagram clearly demonstrates the areas which make up an integrated, intranet base security system of the type we are describing and how they interrelate.
The management information available is detailed and useful. Whereas the focus for retailers has been to increase profit through loss reduction, retailers now use integrated security systems to understand their customers habits and increase sales as a result. Tagging is an essential part of this picture and one that can save retailers significant time and money. In my experience it is an area of security well worth offering to customers.
EAS Distributors are one of the U.K’s leading and longest established tagging systems and tag distributors. The company offers support to installers wanting to add tagging to their portfolio of services and hold a complete range of tagging systems in stock. EAS also offers support and advice on integrated security systems and can supply the CrossConnect integrated, security system.