The security of knowledge

The security of knowledge

Ivan Gosling explains why Security labels need not be the bane of your life

151120 Hybrid feature In an ideal world, retailers and brand owners would like to display all of their products openly in-store. It’s proven to improve customer engagement and ultimately increases sales. But with items like razor blades, fresh meat, cheese and cosmetics all easy to conceal, the very thought of displaying products this way causes concern among loss prevention professionals, who worry that it will inevitably result in more theft.

When faced with the traditional large white security labels, with which shop assistants can easily obscure key messaging, best before dates, ingredients panels and age restrictions, brand owners, who have invested heavily in delivering engaging pack designs, often preferred to have no security protection at all rather than obscure their prized packaging. This in turns drives retailers to use alternative measures such as ‘Keepers’ or in extreme situations, locked glass cases to secure the products, all of which has an impact on the customer experience and, consequently, sales.

So, let’s discuss one of the main ways this fairly simple, issue can be tackled – source tagging. With radio frequency (RF) label dimensions decreasing in size by 75% over the last 20 years, a security label can now be hidden in the packaging, or placed considerately on the exterior of almost any product to provide a visual deterrent to shoplifters.

By applying these advanced labels to a product’s packaging at the point of manufacture or in the distribution centre, you’re removing the in-store labelling process entirely and ensuring tag location compliance. The result is that you know your brand guidelines will be adhered to, from both a marketing and from a legal point of view.

Added value

From a retailer’s perspective, you’re also adding value to their operations, giving a competitive advantage. Stores receive items that visually have chain-wide consistency and, importantly staff can concentrate on selling products, rather than labelling goods. What’s more, as they’re security protected before receipt at store, sales assistants can replenish items quicker – ensuring merchandise is always available for customers to purchase.

The beauty of today’s source tagging is that advances in materials science, coupled with improved security antenna technology, mean there is a solution for everyone. Whether its small cosmetics products, food, drink or larger consumer goods, a security label can be applied quickly and consistently without hindering a product’s look in any way, before it reaches a store.

Ultimately, our research has shown that visible source tagging can reduce shrinkage – losses from shoplifting, internal theft and other parts of the supply chain –whilst enabling an increase in on shelf availability and thus facilitate increased sales. And importantly, the brand’s package remains exactly as it was originally designed.

‘No need for brands to suffer’

Retailers will always look at ways of securing their merchandise against theft. The good news is that your brand doesn’t need to suffer as a result. Previously manufacturers may have thought of a security label as a necessary pain, but now it can be regarded as a solution that can enhance a brand’s on-shelf appearance, while helping the manufacturer and packaging company deliver value to their retail partners. For packaging professionals, the time has come to adopt source tagging.

Stephanie Cornwall
Stephanie Cornwall