The final question for any retailer considering implementing an EAS solution to their shoplifting problem is “how do we get started?”
Checkpoint recommends conducting a pilot. Testing the solution in a small number of stores, with a small number of carefully selected products can give the retailer useful insights into the potential impact and ROI of the solution when rolled out in full.
While not a full rollout, a pilot can still appear a large undertaking for a retailer unfamiliar with the finer details of EAS deployment. Therefore, Checkpoint has five simple steps that can help:
1. Select the right stores to pilot in.
The obvious temptation when selecting stores to pilot in is to pick those with high levels of shoplifting and loss. This is likely to give the best results and offer the strongest case for a full rollout. However, Checkpoint suggests selecting five separate stores that represent the entire risk profile. This gives the retailers a better overall picture of the true impact of EAS.
Checkpoint has also encountered another crucial drawback to using only high-risk, high-loss stores in an EAS pilot. These stores tend to have the busiest management team, the most stressful operating environment, and the highest staff turnover. The engagement of in-store management cannot be underestimated.
2. Selecting the best products to protect first.
In contrast to store selection, here retailers should be selecting products that are causing the business the most financial pain currently. Selection should be made to ensure the success of the pilot, rather than challenge or undermine it. Starting with products that are simple to tag is advised, more complex products can be added later once success has been proven.
A key consideration is the availability of accurate and up to date data on losses for a particular product. If a retailer doesn’t know how much of a certain product is lost each month, then piloting with it would be pointless, as it cannot be judged whether the solution is having a positive impact. When it comes to the pilot, keeping things simple is strongly advised.
3. Positive engagement of in-store management.
At the end of the day, like many technologies, EAS requires human intervention and involvement to be successful. EAS is first and foremost a deterrent and requires the full buy-in of in-store management. This should be taken into account when selecting the stores to pilot in (step 1), with the preference for stores with teams actively engaged in making the shopping environment better for their honest customers.
As part of the pilot, they will be asked to perform additional tasks, will need to be patient with the small but evident disruption of the installation itself, and devote time to the measurement, management, and feedback during the whole process. Pilots have failed in the past where the store staff have not been able to help provide the momentum and motivation to the overall goal.
4. Timescale and Measurement.
We recommend planning between 3 and 6 months as a useful timeframe for an EAS pilot, and during this time regular measurements of shrinkage based on actual product SKU counts vs sales will be required, probably monthly.
It is important that during this time, no operational changes to the stores or product merchandising is made. For example, if a pilot store is remodelled during the pilot, these changes to the layout of the store or positioning of the merchandise can bring into question the effectiveness of the EAS versus the changes made. Similarly, changes to store personal or the addition of new Loss Prevention measures over and above the EAS installation, such as the deployment of a Contact Guard, all could have a questionable impact on the validity of the pilot results. Ideally, the store should remain “as is“ for the duration of the pilot with the only addition being the EAS installation itself.
After a period of measurement, some customers use the opportunity to extend the range of products protected in the test stores, to further evaluate the success of RF protection. This all adds useful data to the overall ROI but should only be attempted when good baseline data has been collected and confirmed on the initial set of protected products.
5. Feedback and Addressing Challenges.
It is expected that there will be a wealth of feedback from the store on the pilot process, hopefully mostly positive and supportive. However, there will be some initially negative issues that could be faced, concerning the EAS installation, which are typically linked to a new technology introduction. The store staff may site concerns with the tagging of products, as this will be new to them and could be seen as labour intensive at first.
There may be other operational issues that will need to be overcome but the sharing and addressing of these challenges is vital to win overall support. From a technical viewpoint, a supplier like Checkpoint Systems has thousands of store installation experiences to draw from and will be able to address any concerns if the feedback is shared openly.
Checkpoint is a leading developer of RF and RFID-based technology systems for loss prevention and inventory management applications, including labelling and tagging solutions, for the retail industries worldwide.
Checkpoint’s world-class range of detection systems has been created to meet retailers’ product protection, operational and store environment needs. Our range of solutions includes in-lane, SCO and traditional entrance/exit solutions. We have a comprehensive Service Team ready to assist you throughout your pilot and beyond, something that we take great pride in.
Our Source Tagging team has over 25 years of experience, helping retailers, CPG companies and packagers efficiently apply RF EAS labels safely both within and on the packaging. EAS labels applied upstream minimize cost and maximize brand integrity.
If you would like to learn more about conducting a pilot in your stores, or for further details about the solutions and services Checkpoint provides, please get in touch and a member of the team will get right back to you.