I formed Retailers Advantage in 1997, my main motivation being the independence of making my own decisions and working to fulfil my own vision. I also craved the freedom to travel back and forth to Europe, which I did supplying traditional EAS security products.
From the time I was a young boy in the UK, I have made and invented things, for example, in the early 1970’s I invented three board games! I suppose I possess one of those minds which is constantly whirring with ideas; ideas which I then try to make into physical products for the challenge of it!
From board games and my career in security, I saw a need to progress forward the technology of the traditional EAS tags, which had of course been around for many years and experienced very little innovation over the years. I wanted to change this, and I reviewed Sensormatic’s growth in the marketplace at the time and why had they succeeded over other similar companies, such as Knogo, Securitag and Checkpoint. The difference seemed to be that, Sensormatic had the Gater tag, patented in 1973 and the Supertag patented in 1993, at a time when mechanical locks were more successful than magnetic lock releases. By combining both mechanical and magnetic locking systems in one tag, I thought would provide the ultimate in theft reduction. So, I invented the A3 Tag, the first double locking security tag in the world that blends mechanical and magnetic release mechanisms. A Whitepaper was produced by the Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC) at Macys who experienced an amazing theft reduction of 83 per cent across their stores by using the A3 Tag.
My next innovation was the patented STPLUS1 Tag, where I developed detachers to open existing single lock Supertags made by Sensormatic and our dual lock patented STPLUS1 Tag with both mechanical and magnetic lock release. Each of these upgrades in theft technology is key for retailers as all Sensormatic tags can now be upgraded from single lock to double locking tags with my patented detacher. The A3 and STPLUS1 Tags cannot be defeated by a simple magnet or hook as found on the internet, such as EBAY or Amazon as I do not allow detachers to be sold online to ensure that there can be no illicit removal of tags.
I also added new RFID technology to the original A3 Tag to ensure it meets new requirements and demands in loss prevention, inventing smart detachers that record each time an item is sold, which helps to control internal theft as well as improving inventory control. Applying backward compatible EAS technology with RFID into the STPLUS1 Tag offers retailers many more added benefits than traditional single lock EAS tags.
In one word, it is management. I feel that retail management are unsure as to where to invest and who to invest with. Online sales are accelerating at such a speed, that with stiff competition from online giants, such as Amazon, it is very difficult for a lot of traditional retailers to push through the changes needed when they perhaps have been doing the same thing for years. Never has the retail scene witnessed such rapid change. I feel that theft reduction should be reviewed more now than ever before; it is a simple step to save money, switch from one tag to another. Innovation works, and it means you are staying ahead of the shoplifter; everything counts towards the bottom line; you can include, or add, RFID technology, which will give retailers added benefits, such as inventory control, internal theft reduction, plus an improved customer experience.
I’m very fortunate to have skied all over Europe and have enjoyed over 20 years of regular tennis, plus I have walked the Great Highland Way Walk in Scotland. I guess I like to keep pretty active in my spare time.