Self-checkout has grown from a modern customer convenience to a critical must-have for retailers in a relatively short span of time.
Ongoing retail staffing shortages and ever-present competition from pure-play e-commerce have created conditions so conducive to self-checkout they’re practically impossible to ignore. With fewer available workers and the need for better store experiences growing by the day, automating checkout should be a no-brainer.
There’s just one catch, however. Retail crime is on the rise. And self-checkout stations are contributing to increasing shrink even in the best of times. Faced with these competing needs, what can retailers do to implement self-checkout seamlessly while still incorporating “friction” for would‑be retail criminals in order to protect their products? These solutions may just hold the answers.
Automated Monitoring and Actionable Insight
With staffing tight, retailers will need to find alternative ways to monitor the self‑checkout process. One way to achieve this is by installing public-view monitors at each self-checkout station. Reminding shoppers that they’re being watched can stave off theft from opportunists and can be an easy win to get the ball rolling on improving loss prevention at self-checkout. To truly make a dent in strengthening security, however, you’ll want to go further with your camera footage.
What does this look like in practice? Computer Vision Analytics from Sensormatic Solutions offers an idea.
Computer Vision Analytics is software that taps into your security camera network, leveraging AI-powered analytics to monitor and assess behavior beginning at the store parking lot, through the shopper journey, through self-checkout stations, and ultimately the store exit. Think of it as your loyal lookout from open to close, who never takes breaks—or even blinks, for that matter. Computer Vision knows what “normal” means for your store and can quickly detect suspicious activity and provide associates with mobile alerts in real-time so they can intervene with customer service to deter theft activity.
While combating shrink may be its most urgent use case for many retailers, Computer Vision can assist in streamlining the self‑checkout process in other ways as well.
“In addition to stopping red shoppers (shoppers with criminal intent), Computer Vision can also be a useful tool in improving the checkout experience for green shoppers, too,” said Craig Szklany, VP and general manager, loss prevention and liability, at Sensormatic Solutions. “Through behavior analytics, the software is able to identify points of friction leading up to and during the self-checkout process that retailers can address, or spot new opportunities to help those struggling to navigate the self‑checkout process faster and more efficiently.”
Once integrated, Computer Vision’s behavior-analytic capabilities can yield insights into self-checkout improvement strategies like these from both a security and shopper perspective. Between identifying security weaknesses to spotting pain points at checkout, Computer Vision can help you strengthen security and improve the customer experience at the same time.
Security Without Sacrifice
Better monitoring and sharper analytics can go a long way in reducing shrink at self-checkout, but a glaring security concern remains. Adding self-checkout to your stores means addressing removal of traditional hard tags from your products. That would introduce a major point of friction for green shoppers, and this is a pervasive problem that only an innovative technological approach can solve for the modern self-checkout era.
Tagging products for added security without creating friction for well-intentioned customers would be the best of both worlds. And today, single-piece EAS tags like Sensormatic Solutions’ InFuzionTM tags are making that dream a reality.
InFuzion tags are one-piece hard tags that can add shrink protection while minimizing much of the customer frustration created by traditional two-piece hard tags. Empowered with Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities and Acousto-Magnetic, RF, and radio frequency identification (RFID) technology options, Sensormatic Solutions’ InFuzion tags can be removed from products electronically with a matching detacher by an associate, making a breeze of detachment during regular checkout. But now, that same technology is being put into the hands of customers, carrying major implications for the future of self-checkout.
Democratizing Detachment with Mobile Technology
Through its partnership with Danish software company Zliide, Sensormatic Solutions is working to bring even more frictionless shrink-deterrence tools to self‑checkout this fall, with hopes of putting an end to one of the great conundrums of self-checkout security.
It all starts with the innovative mobile purchasing software offered by Zliide. The company has since added tag-detachment functionality to go along with its already established mobile shopping platform. Now, customers will be able to purchase products in store and detach security tags themselves, all with just their phones using the Zliide mobile shopping experience. Plus, the tags are safe and easy to use, eliminating friction even further.
“Because the pin is integrated into the InFuzion and Zliide tags, customers don’t have to worry about handling a pin, making them very simple and safe to use,” said Szklany. “This makes for a smooth, safe process where detachment is both fast and convenient for shoppers and more secure for retailers.”
As an ironclad icing on the cake, enabling product tags with RFID can make this self‑detachment process even more secure. That’s because when you tag a product with RFID, you gain item-level insight into each product being purchased. When customers detach tags at checkout, for example, you’ll be able to know with certainty that the products being purchased are the same as the ones customers are untagging and carrying out the door.
Improving security at self-checkout starts with embracing new tools.
By implementing public-view monitors, incorporating behavior analytics, and activating mobile detachment, you’ll be able to deliver the convenient self-checkout experience customers crave, without having to sacrifice the security of your products.
To learn more about these and other solutions that can help you address loss prevention at self-checkout and throughout your entire store, go to Sensormatic.com and connect with a solutions expert today.