Brands spend millions every year designing and refining product packaging to give it standout shelf-appeal and to make target consumers pine for what’s inside. And while successful packaging design might come in many forms, the overall goal is always to deliver more sales.

To meet that goal, packaging designers face the constant challenge of keeping pace with changing consumer preferences: After all, what appeals now is likely to be short-lived. However, one product issue they’re unlikely to consider is theft, despite the high cost of shrink to U.S. retailers.

Security Before Beauty

So, how can brand owners and manufacturers tackle theft — and how can packaging design help?

To stem product losses, retailers use security labels to act as a visible deterrent. They are a fantastic defensive tool and a huge percentage of security labels are now applied in-store before items go on display.

From a UK retailer’s perspective, the optimum position for a security label is usually on the same side as the barcode — because the label will be deactivated as it is scanned at the point of sale. They then add a security message on the front of the package, where it is visible. Meanwhile, U.S. retailers generally prefer that labels are placed in a visible position on the front of the package to provide a visual deterrent against shoplifting. However, the reality of a busy retail environment often means that security labels are hastily applied, with little regard for branding or information panels.

Poorly positioned labels are particularly problematic for smaller products, such as makeup, that need to be security protected because they are desirable, easy to conceal and often at the top of shoplifters’ wish lists. Ill-considered security label application can render packaging design completely pointless: In a worst-case scenario, it could even prevent a purchase and force the customer to switch to another brand if the ingredients or allergy information is obscured.

So What Is The Solution?

Source tagging, the process that sees security labels applied with precision at the point of manufacture, is an effective anti-theft solution for both…