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Grocers Seek to Deter Theft at Self-Checkout Terminals

Payments Dive

Strategically mounted just above the self-checkout stations in a Harris Teeter supermarket location in Gaithersburg, Maryland, a fleet of smart video cameras is bent on ensuring that shoppers don’t leave the store without paying for every product they have in their cart.

The devices are programmed to alert customers if they neglect to scan an item, giving them the chance to correct the error and continue processing their order, according to green signs positioned alongside the terminals. Should the shopper miss a second item, the unit will halt the checkout process and summon an employee, the signs indicate.

Harris Teeter has installed the technology in an unspecified number of stores, a Harris Teeter spokesperson said in a statement. The spokesperson did not identify the supplier of the equipment, indicate why the Kroger-owned supermarket chain opted to install the cameras or provide details about how the retailer’s “Self-Checkout Video Assistance” program works.

The system resembles anti-theft equipment Kroger agreed to procure from Irish artificial intelligence firm Everseen in September 2020 in a bid to reduce shrink at self-checkout stations. Kroger indicated at the time that it intended to introduce the gear at up to 2,500 stores.

Doug Baker, vice president of industry relations at FMI – The Food Industry Association, noted that while retailers have access to a wealth of technology that can automatically spot efforts by shoppers to outsmart self-checkout systems, confronting a shopper suspected of trying to steal something can be risky because the person could respond violently.

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