Australian supermarkets turn to new technology to tackle rampant self-service check out theft costing them $3.4BILLION a year
- Experts say retailers need to find ways to stop thefts at self-service check outs
- They say best way would still be to employ more staff at the billing counters
- Woolworths and Coles had taken measures in the recent past to prevent thefts
Australian supermarkets are losing $3.4billion a year to rampant thefts at self-service check outs.
Experts say retailers need to do more check thefts, but believe the best solution would be to remove automation and employ more staff at the billing counters.
Loss prevention expert Steven Campbell said usually there are two types of thieves – those who believe they can beat the system, and those who mistakenly pay less for an expensive item and then intentionally employ the same trick again.
Australian supermarkets are losing $3.4billion a year to rampant thefts at self-service check outs. Experts say retailers need to do more check to check thefts, but believe the best solution would be to remove automation and employ more staff at the billing counters (stock image)
‘Once they check the receipt, they realise they made significant savings and can get away with it, so next time they do the same again. Eventually it becomes a trend,’ Mr Campbell told Nine News.
‘People using the [self-service] machines often justify their actions because they believe big retailers already make enough profit so they are happy to put avocados through as carrots.’
Supermarkets have turned to tech start-ups such as black.ai and Tiliter Technology to beat these ingenious thieves.
Black.ai said its 3D sensors, which are built into the ceiling space, track every customer in store in real-time.
‘Our distributed decision-making stack maintains a virtual ‘cart’ for each customer, reliably detecting and tracking all product interactions for patrons,’ according to its website.
Sydney-based Tiliter Technology says its software can tell the difference between the closest of product varieties.
For instance, it can point the difference between Truss, Roma and Gourmet Tomatoes or a huge variety of apples accurately once the item is placed in front of the device.
‘We teach checkouts to recognise products without barcodes,’ the company website said.
Woolworths also recently reintroduced scales in bagging areas, whereas Coles is trialling the use of new camera technology at the self-service check outs.
The supermarket giant installed cameras directly above the self-service monitor at some stores allowing shoppers to see themselves while scanning the items.
Dr Emmeline Taylor, lead researcher of the Australia and New Zealand Retail Crime Survey, believes thieves are becoming confident and they believe they can get away with their crime.
‘Many think that retail crime is a victimless crime – that the large retailers build expected losses into their profit margin – but it couldn’t be further from the truth,’ she said.
Supermarkets like Woolworths and Coles had been taking measures to prevent thefts at self-service check outs. Coles has installed camera directly above the self-service monitor at some stores allowing shoppers to see themselves while scanning the items (stock image)