Zara’s Security System Faces Unprecedented Challenge as Shoplifters Evade Detection

Words by Retail Bum

Zara's Security System Faces Unprecedented Challenge as Shoplifters Evade Detection
Zara's Security System Faces Unprecedented Challenge as Shoplifters Evade Detection

Fashion retailer Zara is encountering difficulties with its anti-shoplifting system that the company initially rolled out in July 2023.

The system, which leverages RFID technology as a substitute for conventional security tags on garments, has encountered setbacks as the new security tags were found to be easily detectable and removable in initial trials, as reported by Bloomberg.

The company has, however, denied running into any issues.

“The in-store implementation process of the new soft-alarm system, which uses several technologies, is going according to plan, without any significant incidents,” a company spokesperson said.

The new security system, which replaces traditional security tags, is a component of Inditex’s strategy to seamlessly merge its eCommerce operations with its physical retail outlets. The primary goal of this system is to achieve a 60% reduction in theft.

Earlier this year, Inditex initiated trials at select Zara outlets in Spain, leveraging unique RFID tag placements that employ a unique thread comprising a miniature RFID tag encased within textile yarn and integrated into the seams of garments.

Nonetheless, staff members are reportedly apprehensive that the new technology could potentially facilitate theft, as shoplifters can easily detach the RFID chips. Furthermore, supply chain disruptions have contributed to the decision to postpone the global launch.

During its annual earnings report in March 2023, Inditex had previously emphasized the introduction of the new security technology in its stores. At that point, the company had stated that this new technology would obviate the necessity for hard tags.

“This new technology will allow a significant improvement in customer experience, facilitating interaction with our products and improving the purchasing process,” Inditex said during its earnings report. The company also stated that the new system will serve as the foundation for further advancing stores’ digitalization and seamless integration with online platforms in the forthcoming years.

As retailers strive to bolster their defenses against the rising incidents of shoplifting in recent years, the company’s endeavor to adopt this new technology aligns with this trend, as highlighted in the Bloomberg report.

For instance, the British Retail Consortium noted a 27% surge in in-store theft cases across the ten largest cities in the United Kingdom in the past year. Meanwhile, in the United States, the National Retail Federation reported that theft amounted to $66 billion in lost sales for retailers in 2021.

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