Home improvement, garden included, is a big consumer trend, driven primarily by pandemic closures, but also by home improvement and burgeoning social media channels that promote beautiful homes and gardens. One of the winners in this trend is home improvement stores.
But as it is with most things, the same is true here: Where there is light, there is also shadow. DIY stores are not only popular with shoppers, but with their combination of easy-to-steal small parts and high-end power tools, they are also considered a “paradise” for thieves. And as interest in DIY grows, thieves know they can easily resell the stolen goods, making thefts even more interesting and likely.
It is therefore all the more important for DIY store operators to take effective item protection measures – but that is easier said than done. DIY stores pose a challenge when it comes to security because not only are they very large and usually have extensive outdoor areas, but DIY store customers are also used to being able to pick up and test almost any item. These are weak points when it comes to item protection, as it leaves a lot of room for thieves to hide products unnoticed, open boxes, cut strapping or “simply” steal items.
The future of article surveillance
Checkpoint Systems’ next generation EAS/RFID systems offer a range of protection options to protect products in this challenging environment. One example is Alpha solutions, which are specifically designed for highly theft-prone products. This class of solutions includes CableLoks®, Mini NeedleLok™ Tag, Spider Wraps® to protect large, six-sided packages, open display solutions and tamper-evident packaging tapes that trigger a loud alarm if someone tries to open the package. In addition to improved item security, the biggest advantage of the Alpha range is that it allows potential shoppers to touch and try out items for themselves. This ensures customer satisfaction and has a positive effect on sales.
Another next-generation item protection is the new RF Metal™ label, specifically designed to protect metal items such as paint cans, drills and spanners. Until now, securing metal items has been a problem area and often the only option was to lock them away in display cases. The reason: metal absorbs RF energy, making electronic article surveillance virtually impossible. The new metal label now closes this security gap and has other plus points: it can be applied at the source or in the shop, for example, it has minimal impact on the visual appearance of the products, and it has a visual deterrent effect on potential thieves. This allows retailers to place metallic items openly in prime locations. The RF metal tag can be combined with all Checkpoint System EAS antenna solutions.
Significant advances have also been made in antenna solutions for DIY stores. The NEO range of antennas, such as the robust NEO™ NP10 antenna, are particularly suitable. The key factor with these solutions is that they have a wider coverage area and can therefore be placed further apart. This not only allows for wider aisles in DIY stores, but also makes them visually less obtrusive while improving product protection.
But they offer even more bonuses: NEO’s built-in wireless connectivity makes these antennas easier to install and requires less wiring. In addition, NEO solutions can connect directly to the store network, the mobile network and the Checkpoint cloud platform.
In addition to these new and proven classes of solutions, Checkpoint also offers home improvement stores the Check&Secure® service. This includes a store audit of protected and non-protected items, advice on how to optimise item security and a pilot demonstrating how EAS can reduce shrink and increase sales.
Alpha solutions in practice
Praxis is one of the largest DIY chains in the Netherlands, offering a combination of compact city stores, larger medium-sized shops, megastores and online shopping. Recently, the company tested Checkpoint’s Alpha S3vx security solution in four shops to better protect high-value items from thieves who use illegal openers to separate products and their security devices.
The Alpha S3vx prevent illegal openings through a double safeguard: an extra-strong opener and a verification code that is unique to each branch. The 4-month test showed how well this works. During this period, thefts in the practice stores were reduced by 50 percent, including products from Bosch, Grohe, Makita and Worx. And as losses decreased, product availability also improved, contributing to a better customer experience.
Following the successful pilot, Praxis has rolled out the Alpha S3vx solution to half of its shops, with the other half to be equipped in the first half of next year.