SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - From Walmart to CVS, retailers have added self-checkout lanes as another way for shoppers to customize their in-store experience. But not every merchant has been happy with the decision, with two supermarket chains ï¿½" Albertsonï¿½ï¿½s and Big Y ï¿½" yanking their self-scanning lanes. Big Y said theft was part of the decision, USA Today reports.
On-purpose or accidental, shoplifting is five times more at self-checkout lanes than with a cashier, according to Malay Kunku, who founded Shoplift Checkout Vision Systems. The company, which sells store video analytic software, has video of people ringing up Starbucks coffee as bananas, or not unloading their cart completely.
But most stores donï¿½ï¿½t want to jettison the self-scanning lanes, especially with new technology that lowers the risk of stealing, said Joe LaRocca, senior asset protection advisor for the National Retail Federation. Technology such as tunnel scanners can register product prices automatically as they move down a conveyor belt. Other self-checkout systems have better sensors to track whatï¿½ï¿½s not been scanned.
Loss prevention workers also have gotten smarter at finding this particular type of shoplifter. "There are ways to distinguish between someone who accidentally forgets to pay or intentionally moves the item so it isnï¿½ï¿½t scanned," said LaRocca. "If you see the physical behaviors enough, you know it when you see it."
The IHL Group predicts that self-checkout lanes in North America will jump 10% over the next few years, with the highest growth in convenience stores, drugstores and hardware stores. Save Mart Supermarkets had a minor security breach at some of its self-service checkout lanes in November.