What is Activation ?
Point-of-sale activation, is a proactive technology designed to offer complete supply-chain and in-store protection against shrink. Its focus is currently on intelligent devices: high-value consumer electronic devices that are digitally locked at point of production and activated by a code provided on the customer receipt at the point of sale (POS). In short, the device is “dumb” or simply does not work until it is activated, rendering it useless until purchased. It allows for open display and customer interaction, but any unwanted attention by shoplifters is rewarded with blank screens and zero functionality once removed from the store.
According to Professor Adrian Beck from the University of Leicester, “This is a benefit-denial technology that is digitally designed to disrupt crime by reducing the value of a smartphone from hundreds of euros to around a five-euro recycling value because it will simply not work until activated.”
The technology, created by US company Digital Safety (DiSa), allows products to be serialized (uniquely identified) through the use of software and packaging changes, including the use of a GS1 data barcode. Upon scanning at the POS, the technology uniquely requires a single scan as opposed to the current industry standard of two scans. This also enhances the customer experience in speeding up the transaction in the first instance.
Each barcode includes three data elements captured by the POS as part of that single scan. These data elements are sent to DiSa’s digital center, the central repository of the retailer’s transactional records, which in turn can support decisions for returns, warranty, and product care plans (PCP). Capturing the unique code-its unique digital fingerprint-at the POS also highlights the fact that any fraudulent return would be identified because it includes details of the store or online channel where it was purchased—and even if it has ever been sold, as opposed to stolen, in the first place. This eradicates those instances where shoplifters pick up the item and brazenly take it to the cashier for a refund without the receipt.
“Return or refund fraud is the fastest-growing fraud, and this is a disruptive technology that puts the power back into the hands of the retailer to validate or deny the transaction; they will have all the facts available on that product at the point of sale,” said Adam Hartway, CEO of global retail at DiSa Digital Safety USA. “This prevents people from simply grabbing something in store and taking it to the counter.”
This in effect means that point-of-sale activation has the ability to be disruptive in a completely different and preventative way, which could effectively impact the illicit markets in search of stolen goods to fence or sell on. Once the technology becomes mainstream, thieves will have worked out that the return on investment for stealing the item is simply not worth the risk.
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