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May 30, 2012

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IP video will ‘stamp out’ self-service checkout theft

Axis cites a survey by watchmywallet.co.uk which reveals that one third of UK shoppers admit to stealing at self-checkout tills.

The customers surveyed said they used a range of tricks to dupe the automatic machines into giving them money off their shopping including selecting cheaper products while weighing their purchases, selecting ‘small’ when asked to enter the size of their item, and placing items in plastic shopping bags without scanning them properly.

Atul Rajput, business development manager for retail at Axis Communications said: “Self-checkouts are on the rise, and although the cost savings from having them still outweigh the losses, shoplifting from canny customers as well as genuine mistakes from others are a growing cause for concern for retailers.

“While most self-checkout areas are supervised by a member of staff, with four to six kiosks to watch, it is impossible to spot every type of theft as it happens. Staff regularly override the checkouts when the technology does detect an unpaid for item in order to keep the queues flowing.”

With many of the surveillance systems in these stores, a large amount of video of the self-service checkouts is being recorded but not reviewed, says Axis.

Video analytics

IP surveillance cameras which are based on open standards allow integration with innovate video analytic solutions to proactively flag up incidents of scan avoidance, says Mr Rajput, helping retailers to stamp out the problem.

One such solution from StopLift uses video analytic technology to monitor point-of-sale systems. A number of retailers in the UK and US have already used the system with Axis cameras to flag up incidents of scan avoidance.

“This technology is a great example of how video analytics are increasingly being integrated with IP cameras by retailers to help tackle shrinkage,” said Mr Rajput.

“Although external and internal theft will always be an issue for retailers, IP surveillance technology is constantly adapting to meet the challenge. As time goes on it will only get more difficult for opportunistic thieves to dupe both staff and in-store technology.”

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