Republic launches invisible security system in stores
The new system has been debuted in Republic’s Wakefield store and will also be used in the new showcase store at Westfield Stratford City to accommodate the expected crowds ahead of the Olympic Games next year.
The Wakefield store which opened in May in the new Trinity Walk development offers an unobstructed entrance combining increased customer flow and maximum visual focus on product rather than being obscured by security pedestals, according to Republic’s head of profit protection Paul Burlace.
“It is the first RF (radio frequency) system to be almost invisible while at the same time offering us greater cost savings and the ability to increase our tag zone at the front of the store. In addition, we now have increased tagging options such as soft tags on low risk merchandise,” he said.
To the naked eye shoppers see what appears to be a wider entrance than any other Republic store, but this is because the six-metre doorway is unobstructed by security pedestals with the exception of one clear ‘placebo’ surface Perspex pedestal that serves as a deterrent or reminder to less honest customers that security is in place. The real working Cobra antenna are positioned under the floor.
The RF Cobra System is the product of two years development work with the TAG Company. The covert antenna that are 1.8 metres apart, builds and improves upon best of Republic’s older, 66kHz loop or ‘dual dapa’ system, which has long been a favourite of apparel retailers.
Burlace added: “Although from an appearance point of view, the loop was great, it had significant limitations and reduced our ability to protect products at the front of the store. From a loss prevention perspective, the dual dapa system over came this with the inclusion of pedestals in the entrance but this had a visual impact on the store entrance.”
“Also, 66kHz technology is limited by more expensive and larger hard tags when compared to RF which therefore limits the type of product you can protect.”
“The laws of Physics mean that it doesn’t allow for a ‘loop’ equivalent in RF technology as the field generated by 8.2MHz falls away too quickly from its source. However, working with TAG we have been able to achieve an invisible RF system for Republic by designing and making bespoke antenna beneath the floor of the shop front, which is already generating great results for us in Wakefield and will provide the blue print for all our new store roll outs because it combines the right balance of greater customer experience and footfall with the ability to protect our merchandise more effectively,” he said.
Jon Marchese, CEO of The TAG Company added: “This was a good example of collaboration with a retailer. It took the best part of two years to develop but it is the fruit of listening and learning from both sides.”
“Republic’s retail operations team wanted the free footfall and although the system does not require it, the LP team wanted a dummy pedestal with no electronics or cables. This is purely a visual deterrent provided at the request of Republic but has no EAS functionality.”
“Cobra is far from simply laying RF pedestals in the ground, and each array will be optimised for the entrance. We’ve also taken great care about ensuring the system can be serviced, and so access to circuit boards has been considered.”
“The entrance in Wakefield is 6m. Typically, this would have been protected with between 3 and 5 surface-level pedestals which from a store design perspective breaks up the visual of an entrance and can also almost herd customers into a store which is not the experience that retailers want,” he continued.
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