Wal-Mart's focus on 'good customers'

Source tagging of packages with anti-theft devices allows retailers like Wal-Mart to focus on “good customers” rather than worry about shoplifters.

That was one of the strong messages delivered by Tom Coughlin, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores/Supercenters, at a meeting of the Source Tagging Council held earlier this year. Source tagging is adding an electronically triggered device to packages that will set off a store alarm if it’s not deactivated at a checkout counter. “Source tagging helps us provide our valued customers with low-cost products and the perpetual inventory they are looking for,” Coughlin said in his keynote address. “It allows us to enhance sales” and focus on customers.

Bentonville, AR-based Wal-Mart’s president stressed that retailers would like the electronic article surveillance (EAS) tags to be applied not by store personnel, but rather during the manufacturing or packaging process. Receipt of products already tagged enables store personnel to restock shelves more quickly.

From a manufacturer’s perspective, Madison, NJ-based Whitehall-Robins reports that source tagging has delivered increased shelf space. “Retailers have given us more space for some of our typically high-shrink products, because shrink has reduced substantially,” says Gavin Jeffs, director of customer support for Whitehall.

The meeting in Orlando, FL, was attended by nearly 300 retailers and suppliers from around the world.

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