Home Internet of Things Aerospace Apparel Energy Defense Health Care Logistics Manufacturing Retail

Ask The Experts Forum

BlogsAsk The Experts ForumCan RFID Thwart Supermarket Theft?

Can RFID Thwart Supermarket Theft?

Posted By RFID Journal, 05.20.2010
I have a retail business—a supermarket. We currently use bar codes at our point of sale, but we have a lot of theft from cashiers and customers. We sell groceries, frozen foods and so forth. From my limited understanding of RFID, it seems as if it would go a long way to solving the above problem. Is that correct?

—Leon, South Africa

Dear Leon,

RFID can be used as an anti-theft deterrent, but I doubt it would be a cost-effective solution for you at this stage. You would need to purchase tags for 20 cents apiece or more, then hire labor or use existing workers to apply the tags. You would also need to install point-of-sale (POS) readers, as well as interrogators at store exits. Workers could continue to steal, however, by removing the tags, placing items in foil bags or walking out of the store with items under their arms. The human body is mostly composed of water, and would thus absorb energy from the interrogator, thereby preventing tags from being read.

RFID works best when items are already being tagged for inventory-management purposes. Then you can achieve additional benefits by also utilizing the tags to reduce theft. The technology can also work well for a small number of high-value items. For instance, if people are stealing designer handbags, you could set up a system that alerts security when the bags are removed from a shelf, or from a specified area of the store.

In your case, however, I think a conventional electronic article surveillance system (EAS) might be a cheaper deterrent.

—Mark Roberti, Editor,
RFID Journal

Login and post your comment!

Not a member?

Signup for an account now to access all of the features of RFIDJournal.com!

Next Post
Can RFID Manage Flood Risk?
Previous Post
Can RFID Tags Be Used in a Microwave Ove...
Case Studies Features Best Practices How-Tos
Live Events Virtual Events Webinars
Simply enter a question for our experts.
RFID Journal LIVE! RFID in Health Care LIVE! LatAm LIVE! Brasil LIVE! Europe RFID Connect Virtual Events RFID Journal Awards Webinars Presentations
© Copyright 2002-2016 RFID Journal LLC.
Powered By: Haycco