Since winning ‘Best Newcomer’ at the Fraud Awards last October, Agon’s revolutionary Concept Tag has been on a roll.

John Lewis in the UK has started equipping its stores with the tags, Turkish fashion brand LC Waikiki is using them and three weeks ago British fashion retailer Matalan placed an order for a million tags at 105 stores, with plans to supply another 118 outlets in a second phase.

The Concept Tag was seven years in development and was first piloted by JD Sports in 2014. Unlike other EAS systems “it actually works” says Tim Edwards, Group Loss Control Director at JD Sports Fashion PLC.

It is removed mechanically, not magnetically, and sales of the mains powered releaser are strictly controlled, while brute attempts to separate it from garments require enormous strength and would rip them anyway, rendering the items worthless.

Getting that message out took time, and a sustained marketing effort.

The Fraud Awards, and other Retail Risk events where Agon showcased the product, were “a fantastic way for us to really raise the profile and for people to understand who we were,” says Sean Welch, CEO of the Agon Group.

“At the same time as bringing out the new tag we were relaunching the business in terms of website and branding,” he says.

The Concept Tag was exhibited at Retail Risk events in London, South Africa and Dubai before winning the award in Leicester.

“It was a great platform for us,” says Welch. “It’s been fantastic how it has helped us hit the market.

“Retail Risk events have been great exposure. It was winning the right contact with one person, for example, that won us the Matalan order.

“And winning an award adds to the credibility. We use it on our emails and it makes retailers feel more comfortable. They will be spending seven figures with us once they commit to us so they have to feel very confident.”

Agon may soon have news of an even bigger award, for which it has been shortlisted, but Welch is not allowed to publicise this just yet. Look out for his announcement in October.

And on 5th October this year’s winners of the Fraud Awards will be announced at a glittering gala dinner at the Kings Power Stadium, Leicester, following a Retail Risk conference at the same venue.

Entries for the 15 categories of Award need to be made by 28th July.

To ensure a level playing field, a standard format of presentation will be used by all entrants, irrespective of the amount of resources available to support an entry.

And this year the judging panel is drawn from top retailer businesses from around the world, not just the UK.

Entry to the Fraud Awards will be free, as always, and the process has been simplified, making it easier to enter.

To start that process go to www.retailrisk.com/the-fraud-awards/