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Russell’s Supermarkets, a three-store operation under the Piggly Wiggly banner that serves the Metro Birmingham, Alabama market, is seeing reduced theft and enhanced customer service as a result of cloud-based checkout theft-prevention technology since deploying the system last July.
The grocer is using the ScanItAll scan-avoidance technology from Cambridge, Mass.-based StopLift Checkout Vision Systems.
According to Jason Russell, VP for Russell’s, the ScanItAll detection technology is giving him and his store managers easy access to information on checkout shrink from any location. “I can look at the incidents of scan avoidance from my office, while my managers can simultaneously see it on a PC at their three locations,” he said. “We can also share comments about what we see.”
Since the system is cloud-based, it can also be accessed remotely via tablets such as the iPad or the Android-based Samsung Galaxy Tablet.
For a non-cloud based system, Russell would have to create a network for each grocery store to access the incidents, and the costs would be prohibitive. The StopLift system, however, is hosted on the Internet and managed by StopLift instead of Piggly Wiggly, and doesn’t require thr grocer’s IT personnel and infrastructure to run.
The cloud-based system also provides Russell’s the following benefits:
- Yearlong storage of incidents – complete with video and millisecond synchronized transaction log.
- Mobile interfaces for tablets and phones.
- Collaborative online case management between loss prevention, store operations, and management.
- Email Integration – ability to email video links rather than large attachments of video.
- Ability to export video for law enforcement.
- Ability to respond to retailers by adding new features and improvements without troubling the IT Department. Graphical representation and export of store operations data.
The ScanItAll video recognition technology is developed to catch “sweethearting,” when cashiers pretend to scan merchandise on the conveyor belt or shopping cart, but deliberately bypass the scanner, thus not charging the customer for the merchandise. In addition, it finds any incidents of “scan-avoidance,” where merchandise is not scanned or rung up before being given to the customer. This includes incidents which may be due to mistakes by the cashier.
According to Russell, scan avoidance activity has dropped approximately 70 percent since deploying the system. This includes middle-of-the-basket (MOB) and bottom-of-the-basket (BOB) unscanned items in “buggies” or shopping carts, which has accounted for an average of 22 percent of all scan avoidance.
“Our baggers pay more attention to the buggies now and make sure to unload them,” Russell said. “We have a bagger at every checkout, and MOB and BOB have plummeted.”
The system also helps detecting scan avoidance at the self-checkout, Russell said. “We now know what to watch for at the self-checkout, and there’s always someone to help the customer.”