How EAS System Gives Physical Retail An Edge
As retail changes, fashion brands strive to meet customer expectations and boost profits. It is an ultra-competitive, low-margin industry, and to stay ahead, retailers must embrace advanced technologies and integrate them into their brick-and-mortar stores.
Innovative in store technologies, like the next generation EAS system with Nano Bluetooth, offer new experiences for customers and automated solutions for retailers.
Retail and In-store tech
Today’s customers want more than in-store vs. online shopping. They expect an omnichannel experience. To create seamless journeys across digital and physical and deliver outstanding customer experiences, brands should take action to stay on the cutting edge.
Technology-enabled services such as click & collect and curbside delivery have been reshaping retail and meeting customer expectations for convenience, personalization, and service. The next generation of transformative technologies aim to go beyond.
A new technology by Nexite incorporates electronic article surveillance (EAS) security into a tag with an advanced chip that enables retailers to harness real-time data from connected merchandise. The state-of-the-art technology gives retailers the power to improve operational efficiency and loss prevention, optimize product availability and fulfillment, and boost sales, all while providing consumers with the first truly omnichannel shopping experience.
What is EAS System
EAS systems have been around for a while. Traditional Electronic Article Surveillance products provide an efficient anti-theft solution, and almost every major retailer in the world has integrated them in their physical stores.
An EAS system generally works by attaching an EAS tag to merchandise and placing antennas in the store’s entry and exit points. When an item with a transmitting tag that was not removed or deactivated passes a surveillance area, it triggers an alarm and alerts associates in the store.
Types of EAS systems
To better understand the world of merchandise tags, let’s review the types of electronic article surveillance systems currently in use.
In Radio Frequency (RF) EAS Systems, antennas create a surveillance field at the entrance/exit points and receive alerts when an active tag enters this field or is extremely close to it. RF tags and labels are used extensively in retail stores, especially in fashion.
Acousto Magnetic (AM) Systems do the same. They have a transmitter that sends a signal and energizes tags within the surveillance field. When the pulse ends, the tag is activated. AM tags have the advantage of an extended detection range. Electro Magnetic (EM) Systems work in a similar way. Once they enter an electromagnetic field, they make a specific noise that the transmitter picks up to sound an alarm. They are easy to deactivate and reactivate, and thanks to their size and shape, they are often used in bookstores and libraries.
All EAS systems provide protection against shoplifting, theft, and inventory losses. But their role is changing as they evolve into intelligent systems that can go far beyond shrink prevention.
RF vs RFID in Retail
Although they both use wireless radio frequency, there is a big difference between RF and RFID. RF tags send a simple signal and tell the receiver that something is there. When they activate an alarm, the system cannot tell what item triggered it. RFID tags send signals that are more complex and can identify each specific item they are attached to.
There are primarily two types of RFID tags: passive RFID tags and active RFID EAS tags. Passive tags offer limited functionality. They have no internal power source, and respond to incoming radio waves created by the reader or scanner to send their signal.
Passive RFID tags are simple, activate only when they are a few centimeters away, and can only carry a small amount of data.
Active RFID, on the other hand, has a power source, usually a tiny battery, which enables it to transmit its own radio signals.
However, battery-powered tags have two very obvious disadvantages when compared to battery-free tags. One is the limited battery life (the amount of time the battery runs before it needs to be recharged) and lifespan (the amount of time it lasts until it needs to be replaced). The other is the price since battery-powered tags are more expensive.
EAS system - RFID vs. Nano Bluetooth
Smarter and more advanced than traditional EAS anti-theft systems, active RFID and Nano Bluetooth offer a new set of capabilities. They can recognize items, collect item-level data and provide open store entrances. As a result, they promote in-store functionality and experiences without compromising loss prevention. But this does not mean that they offer the same capabilities.
Overall, Nano Bluetooth technology has a much higher accuracy when compared to RFID. It is battery-free, as opposed to battery-powered RFID tags, making it less expensive and longer lasting. Due to its features, it has long-range capabilities as opposed to the significantly shorter RFID range.
Perhaps the most crucial difference is that the patented NanoBT tag automatically routes real-time data, whereas the less advanced active RFID calls for scanning, providing merely a snapshot data.
The real-time flow of data is the real game changer. Automatically enabled when the item is paired with the store, NanoBT tags continuously send data via fixed readers to track every item – anytime, anywhere. Complete transparency, zero manual labor. Right there on a tablet.
NanoBT tag capabilities:
Next generation EAS in-store connectivity
Using Nano Bluetooth tags on each piece of merchandise, from the production plant to the store and beyond, retailers can digitize and connect merchandise. For the first time, retailers have access to real-time in-store data. The previously unseen information enables brands to track the location, availability, and performance of items and store shelves, anytime.
The sales and stock data previously available did not give retailers the full visibility they needed. They could not tell whether or not customers engaged with a product, whether an item was not purchased because it was sitting in the back room and not on the shelf, or if a style was not selling due to low engagement or high abandonment.
When you analyze the Connected Merchandise information, you get customer journey analytics, much like in e-commerce. With the data displayed on a dedicated platform, retailers can answer the most essential questions and make data-driven decisions to optimize sales, margins, and turnover.
From big-picture insights to store localization, brands can optimize product assortment and positioning, store layout, product pricing, and inventory control down to the last item.
Seamless shopping experience
People enjoy physical stores. They give them the opportunity to engage, touch, and feel. In fact, 60% said they want to be able to touch and try products before they purchase them. Yet, six out of ten people now use at least one digital channel in their shopping journey for an apparel garment, according to a report by McKinsey.
From availability and streamlined checkout to personalized contact, customers’ expectations are a mix of physical and digital.
Walk in: Valuable visibility
With NantoBT, tagged items communicate their location in real-time. So if a customer turns to ask for the white shirt in a certain size, the store associate can give its exact location at a glance so you never lose a sale.
Increased accuracy and optimal availability add up to a better shopping experience and drive sales, turnover, and margins.
Walk out: Contactless checkout
Whether your customer is engaged with the item in store or orders online to pick up in store, nobody wants to wait in checkout lines.
And now they do not have to Contactless checkout is empowered by NanoBT tags. Shoppers no longer need to wait for an associate to ring them up or bring out the packages to disable the EAS system as they do with RFID and traditional EAS. With NanoBT, the tags automatically verify pickup and deactivate the embedded EAS when paid for.
Returns are just as simple. With Connected Merchandise, customers can drop off items that automatically verify they have been returned. Go in, place item, walk out.
It is about more than just friction and speed. Advanced in store technology creates seamless experiences across all customer touchpoints.
Overall: Enriched experience
88% of customers felt the experience businesses provide is as important as their products and services and seven out of ten have spent more for the same item to purchase with a company that provides excellent service.
With the continuous stream of data and ease of use, the next-generation EAS system frees store associates and managers to act as brand ambassadors. As they interact with customers, they have more opportunities to upsell and cross-sell while providing tailored customer service.
In-store experience that is authentic and fun makes people want to come in and, in turn, increases and retains loyalty. Once brands fully take advantage of the NanoBT technology, they can address the pain points of their shoppers and add customer-facing, personalized offerings, and improve their portfolio of services.
Tech and bottom-line results
The Nexite technology is compatible with existing EAS systems and does not call for big investments and complicated integration. It is a groundbreaking solution that aligns with every retailer’s long-term goals, offered at a scalable cost.
With a system that features item-level data and a cloud platform, retailers can have one source to view all data. The Connected Merchandise platform collects brick-and-mortar data, which automatically streams from each NanoBT tag on a physical item to the cloud. Using AI and ML, it turns data into customer journey analytics and sales funnel insights.
The Business of Fashion and McKinsey State of Fashion Technology Report 2022 suggested that companies that are already embedding AI technologies into their businesses to increase operational efficiencies and improve customer engagement could see a 118% potential cumulative increase in cash flow by 2030.
NanoBT technology can improve both in-store operations and headquarters control. Management can execute actionable insights tailored to the store, such as shelf replenishment and store displays based on A/B testing, to drive turnover rate, conversion and sales, and reduce losses and markdowns.
Headquarters can make better strategic forecasts and planning while following up on store-level KPIs. Overall, the clarity provided by the technology leads to improved efficiency, fulfillment, customer satisfaction, and ultimately profits.
Nexite NanoBT technology solution
The future of retail is in omnichannel experience. Seamless in store technology enhancements can power customer experiences while optimizing operational excellence for retailers.
With Nexite’s end-to-end solution and first-of-its-kind NanoBT, data flow bridges the gap between offline, online and mobile to create new connectivity. This is a retail revolution that is technology-powered and customer-centered. It brings real value, and real value is always in style.
Learn more about our Nano Bluetooth technology