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Checkpoint Systems Adds RFID to EAS Solution

Spanish retailers are testing Alpha Keepers—lockable plastic containers for securing high-end beauty-care and other products—fitted with RFID transponders, to enable stores to better manage inventory while reducing shrinkage.
By Mark Roberti
Oct 30, 2013

Checkpoint Systems, a leading provider of merchandise-availability solutions for the retail industry—encompassing loss prevention and merchandise visibility—is currently working with several unnamed retailers in Spain to test a device known as an Alpha Keeper that contains an embedded radio frequency identification transponder. The goal, Checkpoint explains, is to help retailers better manage inventory while reducing the amount of shrinkage.

Checkpoint's Alpha division offers a variety of Keepers—clear, lockable plastic boxes for displaying products in stores—which allow expensive items, such as high-end perfumes or razors, to be placed on shelves so customers can view them. But because the product is difficult to remove from the case, the Alpha Keeper also acts as a theft deterrent. In addition, each Keeper is fitted with a Checkpoint electronic article surveillance (EAS) tag (either acousto-magnetic or RF), so if someone attempts to move a boxed product past the EAS readers located at the store's entrance, this action will trigger an alarm.

A store associate uses a handheld reader to conduct inventory counts of perfume displayed in RFID-tagged Alpha Keeper plastic boxes.
For the RFID-enabled version of the Keeper, Alpha embeds a passive EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tag in the plastic case, in addition to an acousto-magnetic or RF EAS tag. Using Keepers with RFID offers retailers a variety of additional benefits, Checkpoint reports. Stores can receive goods into inventory more quickly, since tags can be read automatically by a portal reader, or quickly by staff members using a handheld interrogator. In addition, store associates can use a handheld device to perform cycle counts and quickly locate misplaced items, or goods whose expiry date has passed.

"As retailers start to embrace RFID to drive operational efficiencies in stores, they are also taking a look at where else they can drive improvements," says Mariano Tudela, Checkpoint's head of RFID for Europe. "Alpha Keepers have been proven an effective solution for high-risk merchandise. Applying RFID labels to the Keepers is the natural next step to improve merchandise visibility and availability at the store level. We produced EAS-RFID keepers in response to requests from several Spanish customers. They are currently testing and evaluating the solution. The feedback has been very positive."

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