Stop Shoplifting at Self-Checkout: 3 Strategies That Really Work

Self-checkout is a customer favorite for a reason. 

It keeps your checkout lines short, makes the transaction process quick and simple, and wraps up your shoppers’ experience in a neat, convenient bow. 

But there’s one key reason why self-checkout may not be a grocer’s best friend: Stealing is four times more likely at a self-checkout station than at a traditional cashier lane. 

Fortunately, there’s a way to keep your customers and your profit margins happy. In this blog, we’ll talk through how to spot self-checkout theft — and three strategies you can use to prevent shoplifting at checkout. 

What Does Shoplifting at Self-Checkout Look Like?

As a grocer, it’s crucial to develop an eye for shoplifting at self-checkout. To effectively stop theft, you need to know what stealing typically looks like. 

Here are a few shoplifting strategies that you should watch out for: 

  • Ticket Switching: A thief might swap the label of a more expensive item with a cheaper one. For example, they might place a ground beef sticker on a filet mignon. 
  • False Scanning: A shoplifter may pretend to scan an item and place it in the bagging area without actually adding it to their total. 
  • Quantity Errors: In this common shoplifting technique, a thief will ring up one item, but intentionally fail to add the correct quantity. For example, if they have three packs of chicken in their cart, they’ll only add one to their purchase. 

These shoplifting practices can be tough to catch, but learning how to look for theft is the first step to creating an effective plan to stop it. 

How To Prevent Shoplifting at Self-Checkout

Now that we’ve covered what shoplifting at self-checkout commonly looks like, let’s explore three ways you can stop it. 

A combination of these strategies can help you identify, deter, and limit the theft that happens in your grocery store — while still offering your honest customers the convenience of self-checkout. 

1. Train Your Employees To Spot Self-Checkout Shoplifting

Your team members are your partners in preventing theft. Since they’re regularly on the sales floor, monitoring your self-checkout stations, and interacting with each of your customers, they’re most likely to notice theft — and they have the most opportunities to prevent it. 

Your employees should have a thorough understanding of the strategies thieves usually use, the warning signs of a potential shoplifter, and what your store’s protocols are for handling theft. 

These trainings shouldn’t be a one and done exercise for your new employees. Regular refresher training for all of your employees can help everyone stay vigilant and proactive in preventing shoplifting at self-checkout. 

2. Invest in Security Cameras

If you’re serious about stopping shoplifting at self-checkout, then security cameras are a must. 

Cameras are a great way to deter potential shoplifters, and if they do decide to steal, your camera feeds are an objective source of evidence that can help you identify repeat shoplifters and take the appropriate legal action. 

Here are a few tips for using security cameras effectively to prevent shoplifting at self-checkout:

  • Employ a mixture of real and decoy cameras. Often, the presence of a camera can dissuade potential thieves. 
  • Use clear signage to indicate that cameras are in use at each self-checkout station to encourage your shoppers to ring up their items accurately and honestly. 
  • Look for cameras that integrate seamlessly with your grocery store’s point of sale (POS) system to make it easier to identify suspicious activity. 

3. Lean on Your Point of Sale System

Your grocery store’s POS system is more than just a tool for processing sales; it’s also your greatest ally in preventing theft. 

Your POS system keeps detailed records of your inventory and your sales, allowing you to easily identify discrepancies and calculate your losses from theft. 

Your self-checkout stations themselves should also offer a wealth of insights about shoppers’ activity, indicating if customers are frequently voiding items or weighing items incorrectly. 

With a robust POS system, you’ll be able to evaluate how much of an impact theft has on your bottom line — and you’ll have a better idea of what you need to do to stop it. 

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Shut Down Shoplifting at Self-Checkout With IT Retail

If you’re looking to stop thieves in their tracks, we’re here to help! 

Our POS solution has all the tools and integrations you need to identify suspicious behavior, monitor your shrinkage, and implement effective strategies to prevent shoplifting at self-checkout. 

Schedule a live demo today to learn how IT Retail can help you in your mission to stop shoplifting.