A new Australian technology using product recognition cameras may stop theft at self-service checkouts. Customers have cost Australian supermarkets billions from scamming self-service checkouts since they were introduced in Australia ten years ago. Supermarket shoplifters commonly scan expensive products, recording them as cheaper items or even swap barcodes.
Tiliter Technology, founded by Martin Karafilis pictured Marcel Herz and Chris Sampson, has developed product recognition cameras at self-service checkouts to prevent theft.
Theft at the self-checkout
A new Australian technology using product recognition cameras may stop theft at self-service checkouts by using automated product recognition and removing the need for barcodes.
Tiliter's smart checkout technology uses a camera at the self-serve area to identify a customer's product and then automatically enters the information into the supermarket's point-of-sale system. It also removes the need for barcodes or manually entering additional information, Tiliter co-founder Chris Sampson said. Mr Sampson said the technology was so sophisticated it would be able to tell the difference between a red delicious and royal gala apple, and between a truss tomato and a gourmet.
He said the technology's benefits were two-fold: it would streamline the customer's shopping experience, cutting down time spent at the check-out and simultaneously deter theft. Woolworths has confirmed to Daily Mail Australia the supermarket has no plans to implement the technology but other independent grocers may adopt the concept. Tiliter's smart checkout technology uses a camera at the self-serve area to identify a customer's product.
Mr Sampson said the technology was so sophisticated it would be able to tell the difference between a red delicious and royal gala apple. Her plot was foiled by a Woolworths employee who watched her at a checkout and she was sentenced to a nine month suspended jail sentence. The man was caught after he only scanned through a portion of his groceries and attempted to bag unpaid items, a method used by many checkout thieves.
Argos AO. Scroll down for video. Poll Have you ever stolen something at a self-serve checkout? Have you ever stolen something at a self-serve checkout? Yes votes No votes Now share your opinion. Share or comment on this article: New technology will stop theft at self-serve checkouts e-mail More top stories. Bing Site Web Enter search term: Search. WERE they guilty? Chrissy Teigen records daughter Luna enjoying her 'first breakfast in bed'It all started with a bag of potatoes.
The Australian man didn't plan on stealing them when he put them in his basket during his weekly grocery shop, but had a sudden urge not to scan them when he got to the self-checkout lane.
Two years later, he estimates he regularly pays for two-thirds of his groceries when using self-checkout machines. The year-old university student has opened up about why he steals, in light of Australian supermarket Coles revealing about one-third of all shoplifters caught in their Canberra stores were at self-checkouts.
He spoke about Coles and Woolworths putting suppliers under pressure and underpaying penalty rates to low-paid workers. The Canberran student said he would never steal directly from a supermarket aisle and would not take more than his "moral compass" could handle.
He called himself Robin Hood because "I'm stealing from the rich and giving to the poor". Canberra's self-confessed supermarket thief is an example of people "neutralising their moral concerns" by taking from companies they believe have acted unethically, which was a common self-rationalisation for stealing, according to criminologist Adrian Beck.
Professor Beck's research found self-service checkouts could be "normalising" theft in supermarkets. And he's likely not alone in this perspective, if ANU criminologist Emmeline Taylor's research is anything to go by. She reviewed surveys around the world and found up to one-third of customers regularly steal when using a DIY checkout to pay for their groceries. Police did not have data on self-checkout theft, but Coles said of the people caught shoplifting at stores across the Australian Capital Territory ACT since January had done so at self-checkouts.
A Coles spokesperson said the self-checkouts were a convenient choice for customers but the company was working with police across Australia to catch more thieves.
A Woolworths spokesperson said it would "continue to explore all options [for customer payments] and assess their suitability", but the supermarket had faith in Canberra customers doing the right thing.
Woolworths would not provide figures of self-checkout thefts in the ACT. ACT Policing stressed that shoplifting would not be tolerated and urged customers to notify staff or security if they see someone acting suspiciously.
Confessions of a self-checkout supermarket thief. Clare Sibthorpe and Catie LowOct 12 Fairfax Media. The DIY machines are clearly a convenient option for many, especially light-fingered customers.As a kind of reproach, I prepared to bag the item in any case, but a pang of weary guilt set in.
Two choices sprung to mind. Carry on as though nothing untoward had happened, and knowingly steal. Or hail the cashier, who at the time was busy at another till, to fix the machine and right the wrong.
Nation of shoplifters: the rise of supermarket self-checkout scams
I picked the second option, eventually. Though, to be honest, on another day I might have swayed the other way. Plenty of us do. Need proof? Expensive grapes are scanned as inexpensive carrots. Prime steaks are swiped as potatoes. The barcodes of pricey objects — wine, beer, spirits, cosmetics — are deliberately obscured by stickers removed from significantly cheaper on-sale items.
For an idea of how close to home the issue really is, try mentioning it to your friends, like I did. Several of mine confessed to pilfering something from a self-checkout machine at some point, though nearly all of those added a caveat: only small stuff.
One recently got away with an umbrella. Another regularly declares chocolate croissants as bread rolls.
And more than a few said they bagged items that failed to scan, half-shifting the blame on to a faulty machine. To hammer home the point, he had an year-old provide a demonstration. When they reached stores, the machines offered customers unexpected levels of autonomy, and the opportunity to avoid long queues at traditional checkout tills.
And though the machines were outwardly advertised as being strictly beneficial for the customer, they offered retailers perks, too, notably the freedom to slash labour costs. The more self-checkout machines a supermarket had, the fewer cashiers it required.
Secrets of the Self-Checkout Thief
There were savings to be made. But any financial gains now appear to be marginal, at least in part due to unforeseen spikes in self-scanning theft.Self-checkout is on the rise, despite recent reports saying that at least two major grocery chains have abandoned their self-service strategies. It's true that Albertson's and Big Y have ditched their kiosks, but they're in the minority. Although theft could be a deterrent for embracing self-service solutions, most retailers realize that the cost savings still outweigh the losses.
And there are a few ways — some cheap and easy, others a bit more expensive — for retailers to help prevent those losses. They include:. It may seem like an oxymoron to hire employees to run self-checkout, but the solution was never designed to run without humans. For example, a typical configuration is four or six kiosks next to one another with one employee monitoring the area.
Just having a warm body standing near the self-checkouts isn't enough; the employee must know what types of theft occur at the self-checkout. One common way customers steal is by pretending to scan an item; another is when they don't even bother with the scanning ruse and directly move the item from the cart to the bag.
However, each machine has a "skip bagging" feature that thieves use to their advantage, Alford said. Price switching and entering the wrong PLU codes are also common. Price switching occurs when shoppers simply scan a cheaper item but then put a more expensive item in the cart.
Entering multiple PLU codes of the same product should be another red flag to retailers. For example, most shoppers don't buy six bundles of bananas, but thieves will use those PLU codes and then take more expensive items, Alford said.
Not only do employees need to be trained to spot these behaviors, they also need to know how to approach a possible thief. For example, employees might be scared to confront a customer in an accusatory tone, and it's not even necessary, Alford said. It needs to beep. All the training in the world isn't going to prevent theft nearly as well as some of the new technologies now available.
The program, launched three years ago by StopLift, has been watching thousands of check-out lanes across the U. Its founder Malay Kundu said theft occurs at the self-checkout far more frequently than in traditional lanes, whether it's on purpose or from customers forgetting about items. Kundu's video platform not only serves as proof to convict thieves, it also serves as a training tool.How Target retailer helps catch criminals outside its stores
Managers can actually sit down with their employees and show them when customers have stolen from them. The deployment of self-checkout solutions should hit aboutunits byaccording to London-based Retail Banking Research. That's four times as many as the 92, it reported in Kundu believes that number will keep growing as the technologies to help curb theft improve. In fact, his company will soon roll out a platform that alerts employees in real time when stealing occurs.
Cover Photo: Flickr. Read more about self-checkout. How retailers can add the human touch to digital transformation. How next generation cloud platforms help retail thrive.
How AI is changing the face of modern web design for retailers.Americans are busy, busy, busy. As consumers, they hate standing and waiting in lines at checkout.
The want their goods and they want them NOW. On the other hand, businesses would like to cut down on labor costs and redirect the savings to other areas of the business. The addition of self-checkout as a payment option for consumers.
However, with the adoption of unmanned self-checkout of goods, shoplifting has nearly doubled in grocery stores.
The degree of theft and the types of techniques used to steal have changed too. However, when it comes to self-checkout, shoplifters are getting creative. This method of theft leverages the ignorance of the machine. This technique involves hiding items in the bottom of the cart.
This method involves a little more work before getting to the self-checkout device. These techniques to dupe a self-checkout machine sound cute and innocent. In fact, most people who steal from stores this way often justify their actions:.
No matter the justification, stealing is stealing. Stores will not just sit back and absorb the loss forever. As companies continue to lose money in self check-out sections, other aspects of the business will begin to suffer if the stores do not compensate for the loss.
Whether it is internal theft and shrinkage, mystery shopper services or physical and electronic surveillance, we can provide fast, professional and affordable investigative services. Call or contact us to speak with one of our investigative professionals today.
Skip to content Americans are busy, busy, busy. Banana Trick This method of theft leverages the ignorance of the machine. The Cover-Up This technique involves hiding items in the bottom of the cart. Switcheroo This method involves a little more work before getting to the self-checkout device. Justified to Steal These techniques to dupe a self-checkout machine sound cute and innocent. In fact, most people who steal from stores this way often justify their actions: Why should I feel bad about taking a couple of items when the grocery store is cutting back on employees, eliminating jobs?Emmeline Taylor does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
The number of self-check out terminals around the world is predicted to reachby and some stores have even become fully self service. But for some supermarket customers, the removal of store clerks has been a green light for dishonest behaviour. And they are costing the retail industry billions of pounds a year. Customers are now relatively autonomous in the picking, payment and packing of goods they wish to purchase, but trusting them to process an honest and correct transaction is not without problems.
A few years ago, I was working with retailers in Australia to reduce shoplifting, when one of the major supermarkets discovered that it had sold more carrots than it had ever had in stock.
Puzzled by this development they looked into their inventories and found that in some cases individual customers were apparently purchasing 18kg of carrots in one go. Otherwise honest shoppers were using the self-service checkout to transact more expensive items — typically avocados — and put them through as carrots.
Self-service machines can be manipulated in many different ways. Other techniques include obscuring the barcode while mimicking the scanning motion, stacking items together so that only the bottom one is scanned, scanning items but not paying, or only partially paying, or entering the wrong quantity of loose items. Those who are not apprehended or punished are likely to revise down their risk assessment and continue to commit offences, so creating a symbiotic spiral of escalating criminality.
Peanuts are cheaper than pine nuts, cooking tomatoes are cheaper than vine tomatoes, and of course, carrots are cheaper by weight than most other fruit and vegetables. Recognising this, many customers switch labels or deliberately input a different item on loose products. So overall, losses through customer theft might be cheaper than the cost of paying cashiers.
There are also ideological motivations: a resentment towards the growing automation of jobs, and the domination of large supermarkets over small community businesses. Perhaps unsurprisingly, self-service checkout is now considered one of the most irritating features of British modern life. Not all crime is rational or motivated by money. Some retail crimes are committed for more visceral reasons, such as armed robbers who get a kick out of the adrenalin, power and controleven when the rewards are minimal.
Recognising that transgression can be enjoyable provides some understanding as to why shoplifting is not solely the preserve of economically and socially disadvantaged groups stealing for subsistence. York Festival of Ideas — York, York. Festival of Ideas — HatfieldHertfordshire. Edition: Available editions United Kingdom. Emmeline TaylorCity, University of London. A green light for dishonest behaviour? The carrot trick A few years ago, I was working with retailers in Australia to reduce shoplifting, when one of the major supermarkets discovered that it had sold more carrots than it had ever had in stock.
Switching Peanuts are cheaper than pine nuts, cooking tomatoes are cheaper than vine tomatoes, and of course, carrots are cheaper by weight than most other fruit and vegetables. Pleasure-seeking shoplifting Not all crime is rational or motivated by money. Supermarkets Criminology Automation Theft.Self-checkout is a marvel of technology that customers seem to love or hate.
Love, because it saves them time. For the retailer or supermarket, self-checkout arouses a different sort of love-hate relationship. Love, because it cuts labor costs and saves customers time. Customers have figured out that it is easy to steal in self-checkout. If an attendant catches them with unscanned items, they can always plead ignorance about how to use the system properly.
Some popular ploys are:. When retailers and supermarkets see the theft and fraud detected on videos, they train the attendants on what kind of customer behavior to watch for.
But an attendant might be responsible for four self-checkouts and be busy with one customer, while another customer is stealing. Nevertheless, self-checkouts have grown throughout the retail and grocery industries with an accompanying demand for video analytics.
By using weight sensors, they weigh the item placed in the bagging area to see if it matches the expected weight of whatever was just scanned. Unfortunately, legitimate purchases do not always match their expected weight in the database. As with their older cousins, the manned checkouts, the initial driver for video analytics at self-checkouts has been to detect theft.
This is unnoticeable by the weight sensor and detectable only by video analytics. Our latest technology, used with these smarter self-checkouts, will give chains real-time reporting on self-checkout theft — before the customer leaves the store — while preventing false alerts and improving customer service at the self-checkout.
For example, if you place your handbag on the conveyor belt, there will be no beeping, because it knows this is a non-merchandise item, not an item being stolen. This allows the customer an uninterrupted and more enjoyable experience, gives everyone else a faster moving line, and gives the self-checkout attendant more time to provide true customer service.
While retailers are still beginning to incorporate video analytics into their self-checkout security strategy, the frontier will extend from better theft detection to better customer service. The same video analytics that wow us with detecting fraudulent behavior are in fact equally good at confirming honest behavior.
We can now deliver to self-checkouts both better security AND a better customer experience. Get access to exclusive content including newsletters, reports, research, videos, podcasts, and much more.