StopLift video analytics detects 2 millionth incident of unscanned items at Piggly Wiggly checkout – enabled owner to crack down on theft
When StopLift detected its two millionth incident of scan avoidance at Piggly Wiggly, the supermarket’s owner knew that cashiers were either stealing or failing to scan items, costing his supermarkets major losses.
Chris Ajlouny, owner of ten 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.
StopLift Checkout Vision Systems has now detected more than two million incidents of scan-avoidance at both manned and self-checkouts at supermarkets and retailers in the U.S. and around the world.
StopLift’s Scan-It-All™ video analytics technology has confirmed the incidents, which 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.
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.
Ajlouny shows StopLift videos to all new employees at Piggly Wiggly.
“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.
“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.
“I’d never open another store without StopLift,” Ajlouny said.
Malay Kundu, founder and CEO of StopLift, said the technology eliminates costly, time-consuming human review of video, drastically reduces and deters fraud at the checkout, and significantly improves profitability. Rather than take a one-size-fits-all approach, StopLift develops targeted applications to address the specific needs of retailers from different sectors including general merchandise, grocery, and specialty retail.
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 profitability. Likewise, dishonest customers are identified at the self-checkout.
Scan-It-All works with existing off-the-shelf overhead cameras. No special camera equipment needs to be purchased or installed, and no changes have to be made to the 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.