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Mention the words ‘store security’ and chances are security attendants, bag checks, and obvious electronic article surveillance (EAS) antenna spring to mind.

It doesn’t exactly sit neatly with the concept of frictionless customer experience and welcoming store design.

But just like all areas of retail technology, loss prevention tools have come on in leaps and bounds over recent years, with one of the biggest innovations being concealed EAS.

Concealed EAS is a trend taking the retail arena by storm as a tool of choice for brands who are looking to straddle the balance between loss prevention and stunning store design.

So how exactly does it work and which stores does it suit?

What is concealed EAS?

Unlike traditional EAS shop detection systems which see the security antenna positioned openly in the entryway, concealed EAS allows retailers to hide their security antenna, enabling them to create beautiful, welcoming store entryways, while still keeping shoplifting prevention top of mind.

With concealed EAS, the antenna which communicates with product tags and labels is installed within the door frame of the store entry, under its floor or even overhead.

The benefit of concealed EAS lies in its beauty. It doesn’t detract from the customer experience at that critical moment when they are deciding to enter a store, and it can be integrated into a vast array of store fit-outs.

It also offers retailers the assurance that their outlet remains under the watchful monitoring of a state-of-the-art article surveillance system which is constantly protecting their store from retail theft.

So, what are the options commonly available?

Under the floor

Under the floor EAS systems like FloorGuard see the antennas that monitor a retail outlet installed beneath the floor of the entryway.

This AM (58Khz) system is compatible with other AM options so tags can be interchangeable, and features modules from 1m to 3.6m wide that together can protect a wide store entrance.

As the system is ‘buried’ beneath the floor it requires a cavity under the floor surface but can operate under tiles, floorboards or concrete.

Underfloor systems suit:
• Retailers with wide entryways
• New-build sites with enough access to create a cavity beneath the entrance floor
• Retailers who use hard tags, as it’s not suitable for disposable security labels

In the doorframe

Doorframe EAS systems see the antenna installed in the door frame, floor and ceiling of an entryway, effectively forming a hidden rectangle of antenna that customers walk through.

Available in models such as SkyGuard, the system is suited to doorways with a maximum width of 2.2m and a maximum height of 3m. Meanwhile access panels will be required in the doorframe, while a 25mm conduit is also installed under the floor.

This makes this system one that is often used by high-end apparel retailers and boutiques.

Doorframe EAS systems suit:
• Retailers with narrower entryways
• New-build sites with enough access to run the loop cable beneath the entrance floor
• Retailers who use hard tags, as it is not suited to disposable security labels

Overhead

Overhead EAS systems allow the antenna to be mounted on a wall, suspended overhead, or fixed to the ceiling or entryway of a retail outlet.

Available in brands such as iDTop, it uses UHF RFID frequencies to detect tags or labels – all of which are encoded with unique identification codes.

These frequencies are different from traditional systems helping ID Top systems avoid false alarms from external tags entering the store.

The system is RFID ready straight out of the box, allowing retailers to embrace the latest technological advancement in security and stock counting by adding RFID readers and software when they wish.

Overhead systems suit:
• Retailers with wide entryways
• Retailers looking to be RFID ready
• Retailers who do not wish to make major changes to their store layout

What retailers need to consider

Concealed EAS systems are becoming increasingly popular in retail, allowing stores to offer a welcoming entryway that reveals the beauty of the fit-out rather than a focus on store security.

However, some retailers may instead wish to embrace the visible look of traditional security antenna and pedestals as a strong visual deterrent to potential shoplifters or for the benefits of integrated customer counting systems.

Meanwhile, a concealed system will need to factor in:
• Entryway width
• Underfloor access for the conduits of floor antenna in the case of underfloor or concealed doorway systems
• Space for access in the doorframes if using a doorway system
• Doorway height
• The requirement for security labels or small tags. Here, pedestals offer superior detection

Looking to enhance or improve your retail loss prevention or considering concealed EAS? You can gain an in-depth insight into the latest technology and strategies available at vitag.com.au or get in touch with them directly here.

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