When StopLift detected its 2 millionth incident of scan avoidance at a Piggly Wiggly, the supermarket’s owner knew that cashiers were either stealing or failing to scan items, costing his supermarkets major losses.
|Click to see theft videos: 2 Millionth Incident – bypassing scanner at the checkout|
Chris Ajlouny, owner of 11 Piggly Wiggly supermarkets in the Birmingham, AL area, did not tell any employees at his stores when he installed StopLift, so that he could see the extent of scan avoidance. In the first week, he saw three cashiers steal $400-$500 at a time, sliding groceries around the scanner and later getting “kickbacks” from the customer. One cashier admitted to getting kickbacks outside the store and was fired.
“I’m amazed that we were the 2 millionth incident,” Ajlouny said. “The system has accomplished a lot. As long as we keep stopping these people, it’s excellent. I wouldn’t open a store without having StopLift installed.”
Now he shows new employees videos of scan avoidance from his “smart cameras” to deter them from both stealing and negligence at the checkout. Theft has also been deterred in the supermarkets’ receiving areas.
“My cashiers know they are being watched,” Ajlouny said. “They see their performance on video. StopLift keeps an honest person honest and makes a dishonest person honest.”
“StopLift keeps an honest person honest and makes a dishonest person honest.” – Chris Ajlouny, owner of 11 Piggly Wiggly supermarkets
Yet, the new Piggly Wiggly employee whom StopLift’s Scan-It-All™ video analytics technology caught stealing in its 2 millionth scan avoidance incident thought he could outsmart the smart cameras. Ajlouny immediately fired him.
StopLift Checkout Vision Systems has detected and confirmed more than 2 million incidents of scan avoidance at both manned and self-checkouts at supermarkets and retailers in the U.S. and around the world. Incidents include “sweethearting”, when cashiers pretend to scan merchandise but deliberately bypass the scanner, thus not charging the customer for the merchandise. The customer is often a friend, family member or fellow employee working in tandem with the cashier.
Some of Ajlouny’s cashiers need retraining. The managers see the reports of all the cashiers, and now everyone works harder to give their respective stores the best record for preventing scan avoidance.
“There are barely any mistakes anymore,” Ajlouny said. “It’s working great as a deterrent to stealing and careless scanning.”
He said that one of Piggly Wiggly’s popular sales is “Pick 5” in the meat department. Prior to StopLift, cashiers frequently omitted scanning some of the items, whereas now the system knows if all five are scanned.
Malay Kundu, founder and CEO of StopLift, said that Scan-It-All™ visually determines what occurs during each transaction to immediately distinguish between legitimate and fraudulent behavior at the checkout. As soon as a scan avoidance incident occurs, StopLift, which constantly monitors 100% of the security video, flags the transaction as suspicious. It quickly reports the incident, identifying the cashier or customer and the date and time of the theft. This includes incidents which may be due to mistakes by the cashier or customer at self-checkout as well as items left in the shopping cart. The technology eliminates costly, time-consuming human review of video, and drastically reduces and deters fraud at the checkout.
Dishonest associates are identified on the basis of video evidence the first time they conduct a fraudulent transaction, rather than months or even years down the road, significantly reducing inventory shrinkage, deterring future theft, and boosting stores’ profitability. Likewise, dishonest customers are identified at the self-checkout.
The U.S. National Retail Federation states that retail shrink was $44 billion in 2015 and about $14 billion of that is due to scan-avoidance. Supermarkets, with their lower profit margins, are particularly vulnerable to scan-avoidance, which has accounted for an almost 35% profit loss industrywide.