Autonomous Checkout Overview
Retailers looking to convert to or establish self-checkout and automated checkout in stores can manage losses by implementing self-checkout lane clerks and shopping apps (backed up by video monitoring), performing random or algorithmic security checks, and estaablisning artificial intelligence loss prevention strategies. Each of these techniques has been recommended by one or more retail technology experts and solutions technology leaders have been identified where applicable.
SELF-CHECKOUT LANE CLERKS
Retailers should use a self-checkout lane clerk to keep customers honest and accurate. Brendan Miller is the principal retail analyst at Forrester. He advises retailers that before they can transition to fully automated checkout, whether product recognition, shelf sensors, or RFID technology-based, they should start with an expedited mobile self-checkout lane. He says that mobile-scan users should be directed to this mobile self-checkout area to scan a bar code at a POS kiosk, overseen by a self-checkout lane clerk.
Adrian Beck is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Leicester. He has over 30 years research experience focusing on helping retailers better understand the impact of loss and how it can be managed. In a report, he says that shoppers need to be kept honest and accurate by using suitable, properly trained and motivated clerks and supervisors working at a self-checkout machine station. The goal of self-checkout lane clerks is to prevent loss and improve the customers' shopping experiences. This solution is native to retail establishments and there are no startups or technology firms in a position of leadership.
Brendan Miller says that retailers need to provide an app so that customers can check-in with the app as they walk into the store. In addition to shelf sensors, customers should be required to check-in with an app so that the retailer knows their identities and their locations while in the store. This can be enhanced by live video monitoring. This strategy allows retailers to watch inventory and keep an eye on customer activities including possible theft. BingoBox operates several convenience stores in Beijing and Shanghai and has a successful track record with this strategy.
RANDOM OR ALGORITHMIC SECURITY CHECKS
Brendan Miller recommends random or algorithmic security checks. Algorithms should be used to flag high-risk items or in-store activity so that staff can investigate. Mobile-scan customers should check out and leave 90% of the time, but sometimes, based on the activity inside the store or the items scanned, customers should have their bags checked by staff. The retailer should inform all mobile-scan customers beforehand that they may have their bags checked. The goal of this technique is to prevent loss and protect assets and inventory. The company FutureProof provides solutions in this space.
Dusty Lutz is the Vice President of store transformation solutions at NCR Corporation. He says that retailers should plan to use artificial intelligence to help them analyze and compare point-of-sale video and data to help them to clearly identify each retail transaction and spot fraudulent activity. Errors or suspicious events can be detected by the system, which then notifies a clerk via mobile device and instantly replays a video clip. Dusty Lutz says that artificial intelligence ensures that any theft in autonomous checkout will leave a data trail that can be investigated. The goal of AI is to spot scan avoidance incidents, prevent loss, and protect retailers assets. StopLift is at the forefront of this technology and has so far spotted more than 2.6 million scan avoidance incidents.