EAS Overview

By: Provent  09-12-2011
Keywords: Merchandise, alarm, Electronic Article

EAS stands for Electronic Article Surveillance.  It is a cost effective anti-shoplifting system that permits your staff to focus on customers and not have to worry about displayed merchandise walking out the door.

 EAS systems work by attaching an electronic device, called a "tag" or "label", to the displayed merchandise.  If merchandise bearing the electronic device passes by an antenna installed at the store entrance, an alarm sounds alerting your staff that unpaid merchandise is leaving the store.

When a customer brings his or her selection to the cash counter to pay for the item to be purchased, the sales clerk removes the tag from the item or deativates the label on the item so that the alarm will not sound when the customer leaves the store with the paid for merchandise.

There are three types of EAS systems.  The first is radio frequency, or "RF".    The RF systems work by installing an antenna at the store entrance which creates a narrow low frequency electro-magnetic field around itself.  When a tag or label enters this field, it causes the antenna to alarm.

The second type of system is acoustic magnetic or "AM".  The AM EAS System works similar to the RF EAS System, but when the tag or label enters the field, it vibrates.  It is this vibration that is picked up by the antenna.

The third type of system is electro-magnetic or "EM". The EM EAS System also works in a manner similar to the RF EAS System, but uses a different part of the electro-magnetic spectrum to communicate.

 The transmitting antenna sends a signal at a specific frequency and the receiving antenna waits and listens for a tag of specific frequency to enter the range of detection. If an active tage comes into the range of detection, it sends a signal to the receiving antenna which identifies a different frequency and sounds the alarm.

 The type of EAS System that is right for you depends upon what you merchandise you are selling, your merchandising strategy and your budget.

RF EAS Systems are the ones most commonly used by retailers and tend to be the least expensive.  RF EAS Systems work well for apparel, shoe, sporting goods, liquor, and house ware retailers.  However, consumer electronic, grocery, and pharmaceutical retailers prefer AM EAS Systems as the AM tags and labels work better with the merchandise offered by them.  The preferred choice of vendors of books and art supplies is the EM EAS System as the EM labels are slightly larger than the width of a human hair and attach inconspiciously to the merchandised item.

Provent offers all three types of EAS Sytems from various manufactures, in different price ranges and with many different feature sets.  We would be very pleased to review with you your merchandising approach and your store layout and give you our recommendation as to what kind of EAS System we believe will work the best for your store. 

At Provent, our approach is that EAS Systems "deter" shoplifting, rather than "prevent" shoplifting.  We do not believe that any system can "prevent" shoplifting as a determined thief will steal merchandise no matter what precautions a retailer might take.

A retailer's first defense against shoplifting is a well trained and motivated staff.  The second line of defense, we believe, is a well  designed loss prevention system properly adapted to the store and properly used by the staff.

The main deterence benefit offered by EAS Systems comes from the high visibility of the antenna at the store entrance and the tags and labels on the merchandise. Would be thieves quickly recognize that a store has a loss prevention policy and and will leave your store to go in search of an easier location.

 As well, we know that most shop lifting is impulsive.  If a customer does elect not to pay for a piece of merchandise, properly approached by a staff member when the alarm sounds will enable the retailer to recover merchandise which had not been paid for with a minimum disruption to other customers.

 There are three types of EAS antenna installations - transceiver, single aisle, multi-aisle.  The type of installation that works best for your store will depend upon the size of the entrance door opening, whether the door opens inwards or out, and how your merchandising plan.

Transceiver EAS Antennas

Transceiver EAS Antennas are single antennas which act both as a creator of a magnetic field and a receiver of input from that field.  Hence the acronym "trans(mitter) ..(rec)eiver".  EAS Sytems using transceiver antennas are the least expensive systems and will work with smaller doorways and where the tagged or labelled merchandise is not placed too close to the installed antenna.  Transceiver antennas are available for both RF and AM EAS Systems.

 Below are examples of the transceiver antennas offered by Provent:

RF Transceivers


AM Transceivers

Multiple Antennas EAS Systems

The most common form of Multiple Anteannas EAS Systems is the Single Aisle Dual Antenna EAS System.  The Single Aisle Dual Antenna EAS System has, as the name implies, more than one antenna to form an aisle through which your customer exists your store.  One of these antennas is a transmitter and the other is a receiver.  The antennas create a low frequency electromagnetic field between them so that if unpaid merchandise passes through this field, the tag or label on the merchandise is sensed by the antennas and causes an alarm. 

The Single Aisle Dual Antenna System is used where the door opening into your store is more than one meter (36") and is therefore too wide to employ an EAS Transceiver System.  Because the focus of the electro-magnetic field is between the antennas, this type of EAS System permits tagged or labeled merchandise to be placed within 2 meters (72") of the EAS System.

Where the door opening into your store exceeds 2 meters (72"), additional EAS System antennas are installed to create additional aisles to the extent of the door opening.

Below are examples of the Single Aisle Dual Antenna Systems offered by Provent:

RF Single Aisle Dual Antenna EAS Systems

AM Single Aisle Dual Antenna EAS System

EM Single Aisle Dual Antenna EAS System

EAS Tags and EAS Labels are the items that you attach to your merchandise to protect it from shoplifters.

EAS Tags (sometimes referred to as "hard tags") is attached tto the merchandise being protected by the use of a pin.  EAS Tags come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending upon what merchandise you wish to protect and whether you are using RF or AM  EAS Systems.   For example, for fine lingerie, a smaller lighter EAS Tag is used without a pin so that the fine fabric is not harmed.  But with a heavy ski jacket, a tag can be attached in a manner so that the pin runs through the jacket seam in a manner which does not in any way affect the garment or the customer's ability to try it on.

RF and AM Regular Hard Tags

EAS Pins

Hard tags are attached to the merchandise with the use of an EAS Pin.  Ball bearings inside the EAS Hard Tags hold the pin in place.  When a customer takes the item to be purchased to the cash desk, the sales clerk removes the hard tag by placing it on a detacher.  The detacher is a strong magnet which separates the ball bearings and releases the pin, permitting the sales clerk to remove the hard tag from the merchandise.

EAS Labels

Where EAS Hard Tags are not appropriate to protect your merchandise, EAS Labels are used.  EAS Labels come in both RF and AM technologies and are either plain white or printed with a bar code label or a solid colour.   Often merchandisers will print the white labels with their store logo.

EAS Labels are applied to the merchandise in an unobtrusive manner so as not to interfere with the merchandising strategy.  An EAS label is NOT applied to the artilce's price tag as it is too easily removed.

The EAS Label is left on the merchandise when the customer brings the article to the cash counter for payment and either run over a deactivation unit to deactivate the label or, in the case of an RF EAS Label, covered with a detuner label.  A deactivated EAS Label or one covered with a detuner label will not cause the antennas at the store exit to alarm when the purchased article passes through.

EAS Hard Tag Detachers

When a customer pays for an item, the sales clerk removes the EAS Hard Tag on the item by using a detacher.  A detacher is a super strong magnet which separates the ball bearings in the hard tag releasing the pin.


EAS Label Deactivators

When an article tagged with an EAS label is passed over an EAS Label Deativator, the label is deativated and will not cause the antennas to alarm when the customer leaves your store with the paid for item.

EAS Detuner Labels

Where a retailer does not have a high volume of merchandising passing through the cash desk and uses RF EAS Labels, a more economical method of deactivating the EAS Labels on the merchandise is to apply an EAS Detuner Label to the EAS Label .   An RF EAS Label covered by a detuner label will cause the antennas at the store exit to alarm.

RF and AM Speciality Tags

Tamper Resistant Tags

As EAS Systems have been used by retailers for many years, some shop lifters have devised various methods of removing the EAS Tag from the merchandise by pulling the pin out of the EAS Tag.  To counter this effort, specialized EAS Tamper Resistant tags have been developed which make it extremely difficult to separate the tag from the merchandise it is protecting without damaging the merchandise.

Bottle Tags

Special EAS Tags have been developed to assist liquor retailers to protect their stock.

More recently, a specialize product called "Bottlelox" has been developed which not only works as an EAS Hard Tag, but, as well works as a benefit denial device.

Lanyards, Ink Tags and Other EAS Accessories


Lanyards are used to secure EAS Hard Tags to merchandise otherwise difficult to tag such as sandals and handbags.  The lanyards are looped through the sandal strap or the handbag handle and then fastened to the EAS Hard Tag.

Lanyards come in two styles - double loop and pin end.  The double loop lanyard is used where the two loops are fastened together by a pin and a hard tag.  The pin end lanyard is used where the pin end of the lanyard is passed around the merchandise, through the end loop and then fastened to the EAS Hard Tag by inserting the pin end where an EAS pin would normally be inserted.

Ink Tags and other Benefit Denial Devices

Ink Tags are otherwise known as benefit denial devices.  If a shoplifter removes an article from your store and attempts to remove the tag, the tag will break causing the ink it contains to run all over the article ruining it for future use.  The Bottlelox has a similar benefit denial feature as the BottleLox cannot be removed from the bottle by the thief without breaking the bottle and rendering the contents worthless.

Keywords: alarm, Electronic Article, Merchandise, Merchandising Strategy, Store Entrance,

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