Two Piggly Wiggly owners in Alabama have saved tens of thousands of dollars through a cutting edge scan avoidance system that detects cashier theft.
Chris Ajlouny, who owns ten Piggly Wiggly supermarkets in the Birmingham, AL area, and Keith Holley, owner of Piggly Wiggly in Wetumpka, AL, knew that cashiers were either stealing or failing to scan items, costing their supermarkets major losses. Ajlouny estimated that his loss was $8,000- $10,000 per quarter for two stores. Holley estimates that his one store was losing $6,000-$10,000 per month from checkout shrink, most of it in frozen food.
Both Piggly Wiggly owners installed StopLift Checkout Visions Systems’ Scan-It-All™ video recognition technology to detect scan avoidance incidents at the checkout. These 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.
StopLift’s patented Scan-It-All video analytics technology 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, complete with video and identifying the cashier and/or customer. This includes incidents which may be due to mistakes by the cashier or customer at manned and self-checkout as well as items left in the shopping cart.
Ajlouny did not tell any employees at his stores when he installed StopLift two years ago, 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 past the scanner and later getting “kickbacks” from the customer. One cashier admitted to getting kickbacks outside the store.
From then on, Ajlouny showed StopLift videos to all new employees.
“My cashiers know they are being watched,” Ajlouny said. “They see their performance on video. Some of them need retraining. All the managers see the reports of all the cashiers, and now they all work harder to give their respective stores the best record for preventing scan avoidance.
“I’d never open another store without StopLift,” Ajlouny said.
Holley notified his employees in advance of StopLift’s installation and told them that every item had to be scanned. Shrink quickly dropped to less than $1,000 a month and has remained low.
“The biggest shock was what I call ‘lazy scanning’,” Holley said. “We had a cashier who was talking so much to customers that she wasn’t paying attention. When we showed her the video [of all misscans], she shaped right up.”
Any cashier who does not scan an item is given a warning the first two times to improve job performance. If there is a third incident, the employee usually needs to look for a new job, Holley said.
Cashiers are all scanning carefully, and the inventory shrink has been solved, he said.
Ajlouny 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.
“There are barely any mistakes anymore,” Ajlouny said. “StopLift is working great as a deterrent to stealing and careless scanning.”
“The system never sleeps. It lets me sleep,” Holley said. “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s changed my life. Every grocer should use it.”
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