Pushout Theft Prevention vs. EAS: The Winner is Clear

Pushout Theft Prevention vs. EAS:

The Winner is Clear

There are many things shoplifters have in common. Although they may not look the same, or have the same issues, or target the same merchandise, they all share one goal. For shoplifters to succeed they must do one thing; exit the store.

Guarding the Palace

Retail Loss Prevention/Asset Protection (LP/AP) professionals have employed many initiatives to try to ensure that whatever merchandise exits the store is paid for. Two of the most popular technologies designed to accomplish this are Gatekeeper Systems Purchek®, a Pushout Theft Prevention Solution, and Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS). Although most LP/AP professionals know what EAS is and how it works, some may be unfamiliar with Gatekeeper’s Purchek™ Pushout Theft Prevention system.

“Not On My Watch!” said the Shopping Cart

In simple terms, Gatekeeper’s Purchek® solution consists of placing a specially designed wheel on each shopping cart that locks up whenever the cart exits the store without first passing through an operational checkout lane. (Click here to see a video of Gatekeeper’s Purchek® technology in action.) This ensures that shoplifters utilizing Pushout Thefts as their method of operation, which are also those causing the most loss to retailers, are quite literally stopped in their tracks. Consider that www.pushouttheft.com has calculated the average loss per Pushout Theft to be $803. Stopping theft of this level is a technological accomplishment of no small feat.

Clash of the Titans

To successfully compare Gatekeeper’s Purchek® system with EAS, we must first list the pros and cons of these popular solutions:


  EAS Purchek® Notes
Stops merchandise from exiting False True Although some shoplifters may occasionally grab a few items out of the cart after the wheel locks up, Purchek® essentially apprehends merchandise rather than shoplifters. (Note: Full product recovery is achievable with robust store level responses.)
Prevents confrontations with shoplifters False True Because Purchek® stops most merchandise from exiting, there is no need for employee/shoplifter confrontations. Although confrontation is discretionary on the part of retailers, in over 2.2 million confirmed theft stops, Purchek® has had no violent confrontations.
Protects merchandise without causing unwanted attention False True At its core, EAS sounds off an audible alarm that draws employee and customer attention to the exits. Purchek® does not require an audible alarm to function.
Produces No False Alarms False False -EAS produces false alarms caused by employee error and other factors.


-There are times when a customer may choose to bypass the checkouts and exit the store with an empty shopping cart. When this occurs, the wheel will lock.

Employee Labor Not Required for Normal Operation False False – EAS alarms require an employee to address the customer/shoplifter and find out which item set off the alarm. The employee then must return to the checkout and properly deactivate EAS tags on any purchased items that originally failed to deactivate. Labor is also required for tagging merchandise with EAS labels and spider-wraps.


– When a Purchek® wheel locks up, an employee simply reaches down and unlocks the wheel with the provided deactivation tool.

Provides Event-Specific Video Clips False True – Although LP/AP professionals may add video event recording to an EAS system, most of the clips are recordings of the false alarms caused by employee errors during the checkout process. Therefore, most clips go unwatched.


– Video event recording comes standard with the Purchek® system. Every event is delivered in a pre-edited video clip, meaning it starts just a few seconds before Purchek® is activated and ends immediately after. These event-specific videos create an immediate forensic trail of evidence that can be used to prosecute or defend.


Dissecting the Data

As indicated above, there are a significant number of obvious advantages the Purchek® system offers. However, a deeper dive into a couple of them unveils several more pointed benefits some may have not yet considered. For example, by implementing a technological solution that stops mass quantities of unpaid merchandise from exiting the store, the risk of injury or death to employees drastically decreases because employees are not required to intervene. No confrontation has to take place at all. When the shopping cart simply locks up, the shoplifter abandons it and exits the store, typically empty-handed. In today’s increasingly violent environment, this is a tremendous advantage.

Another example from above also reveals an important benefit. Consider what happens when an employee fails to properly deactivate an EAS tag on merchandise purchased by a legitimate customer. Upon exiting, the EAS bells and whistles are activated and all heads look to the exit to see what is causing all the raucous. In this all-to-common scenario, a legitimate customer is embarrassed while employees rifle through their newly purchased bags of merchandise trying to find the culprit. Is this really how we think shoplifting prevention should be addressed? Albeit true that when a legitimate customer bypasses all working checkouts and exits the store with an empty shopping cart, the wheel on the shopping cart will lock. However, there is no disturbance and the customers aren’t embarrassed when this occurs. They simply walk away from the cart and continue with their empty-handed exit.

Measuring Effectiveness

It is important to note that this blog is in no way intending to dismiss the value EAS technology brings to retailers. It is merely a way to call out the pros and cons of the two most popular front-of-store shoplifting prevention tools. The truth is, EAS would be more effective if retail employees performed at a higher level of execution. If they tagged all of the merchandise they are supposed to, and if they deactivated everything that was purchased by customers, the technology would certainly be closer to reaching its optimal level of ROI. EAS technology is a system based on “deterrence model”, while Purchek™ utilizes a “physical stop” PLUS a “deterrence model.” Moreover, Purchek forces behavioral changes that create a large risk of exposure for the thief. This means thieves tend to take their sinister deeds down the road to other retailers who pose less risk of detection.

Unfortunately, EAS providers cannot control the quality of the performance of retail employees. Therefore, it stands to reason that perhaps the best option for retailers is to choose a technology that doesn’t require retail employees to interact at all with merchandise or potential shoplifters. Purchek® is the right choice.

About Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper Systems’ expanded product suite of intelligent cart solutions offers solutions for EVERY retailer’s needs to minimize merchandise loss and reduce asset and labor expenditures.

Gatekeeper’s loss prevention, retail analytics, and cart containment solutions utilize patented locking wheel technology to put an end to cart-based shoplifting, shopping cart loss, and uninformed decision-making. Cart management solutions increase safety and reduce labor costs by maximizing productivity while simultaneously resulting in a positive store image.

Intelligent pushout theft prevention solutions stop thieves and their cart full of unpaid merchandise from leaving the store. Customizable wheel technology allows retailers to defend their entire store or just a high loss department based on the store’s unique layout.

NEW Retail Analytics solutions provide increased visibility for informed decision making. Increase efficiency, optimize fleet size, and perfect the entire customer shopping experience with a store and enterprise-level analytics.

Find out why 19 of the top 20 retailers that use shopping carts rely on Gatekeeper solutions.

To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, click here.

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