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Woods Cuts POS Losses With Video Analytics

BOLIVAR, Mo. — Woods Supermarket here has saved “a significant amount of money” by using a video analytics system to ensure that products are scanned correctly at both regular and self-checkout lanes, said Doug Haworth, the chain’s director of loss prevention.

The system, provided by StopLift Checkout Vision Systems, Cambridge, Mass., is able to watch checkout activities at the POS via ordinary surveillance cameras and flag illegal behavior like sweethearting by cashiers or theft by shoppers — or just innocent scanning snafus — for later review and response by loss prevention executives and store personnel.

Woods has subscribed to the StopLift system for two years at all 85 lanes in its nine supermarkets, including two stores that each uses it at their four self-checkout lanes.

Read more: Smart Video Systems Cut BOB Losses

The system is designed to address losses at self-checkout lanes, traditionally an elusive target for retailers.  “StopLift dramatically decreased shrinkage coming out of the self-checkout lanes,” Haworth said. He declined to cite the cost of the StopLift service, but said Woods has recouped its investment “10-fold.”

On the other hand, he acknowledged the additional investment in labor needed at the corporate and store level to analyze and leverage video results sent by StopLift. The system also requires stores to have video cameras — Woods’ already did — and to install a video analytics server that sends video to StopLift via the cloud.

Another challenge is addressing the concerns of store employees about being scrutinized by the system. To counter that, Haworth said he uses the video results as “positive reinforcement” with employees.

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