woman shoping in a supermarket

How Does Scan and Go Prevent Theft (And Why Should You Go for It)


Global shrinkage losses have been estimated at exceeding $100 billion in 2019. It’s the biggest challenge for many retailers. Retailers who develop and implement solutions for loss prevention may minimize that risk while also enhancing customer journeys. One way to do that is with Scan & Go.

Customers using Scan & Go, scan their items directly without needing to go to a checkout. Many retailers question the safety of this method and how it can affect shrinkage. Even a slight increase of loss could be a significant financial problem.

In this blog, we will discuss the following topics and see who Scan & Go can prevent theft in shops:

  1. What is the current impact of theft in retail?
  2. Do Scan & Go users steal more than regular shoppers?
  3. How can Scan & Go already discourage theft?
  4. How can retailers prevent theft with Scan & Go?
  5. Why should you adopt Scan & Go?

1. What is the current impact of theft in retail?

A look at the entire German retail sector shows that inventory losses grew from 4.3 to 4.4 billion euros from 2018 to 2019. These retailers have invested in an estimated €1.45 billion annually in security measures to combat that loss. This may include article security measures, detective operations, test purchases, and camera surveillance, among other methods.

It’s also important to consider that inventory discrepancies may often be caused by more than customers. Employees, suppliers, and other staff may claim a portion of these losses through damage that occurs. According to industry estimates, this type of loss alone equates to €2.44 billion.

woman picking vegetables in a supermarket

2. Do Scan & Go users steal more than regular shoppers?

Here’s the bottom line. There is no major difference with regular shoppers. In a comparison by EHI Retail Institute of self-checkout systems, retailers were asked to comment on the connection between inventory discrepancies and self-checkout systems. The results showed over 85% of companies confirmed that inventory discrepancies or thefts were not higher or more significant in these situations. These retailers believe that commercial offenders use attended checkouts or simply avoided any checkout due to the high volume of merchandise.

The results stated that 60% of SCO stores have a higher inventory difference than those stores without them. The remaining 40% of these locations had a lower inventory loss than the average corporate losses.

3. How can Scan & Go discourage theft?

Robust User Identification

The Scan & Go method creates a psychological theft-barrier. Customers register in the app using their name and payment information. Using these authentication methods helps to minimize the anonymity present, which means customers are less likely to engage in theft behaviors. Meshing this with loyalty programs further enhances this loss prevention.

Shaping the User’s Expectations

Offering this service helps strengthen the relationship a retailer has with their customer. Trust has rules to it, and it’s natural for a user to learn how to use the app while maintaining those responsibilities in order to maintain the relationship.

4. How can retailers prevent theft with Scan & Go?

There are multiple methods.

Random checks are the easiest way to prevent theft. The system uses an algorithm to randomly check some baskets before the customer leaves the store. If items scanned in the basket match there’s no problem. If there’s a mismatch, the employee can add items the user did not scan at that time.

Exit gate control strategies are another option. The customer using Scan & Go leaves through a specific exit area to secure loss prevention. They can scan their receipt code at the dedicated terminal. Customers pay at a dedicated terminal and algorithms help prompt employees to audit some shoppers at that terminal on a random basis.

RFID tags are another layer of protection. This is a seamless process that allows for the customer to autonomously shop while the RFID cloud solutions allow products with these tags on them to deactivate after payment. That allows the customer to leave the location without any employee help but creates an alarm should they leave without paying for the items.

5. Why should you adopt Scan & Go?

Scan & GO shoppers are no more inclined than regular shoppers to steal. More so, with solutions in place to prevent thefts, there’s no better solution to offer customers than Scan & Go. Both tools help to contribute to a decline in retailer losses. It offers multiple benefits:

  • It’s faster, appeasing busy shoppers.
  • It provides more space for products to be placed in the store.
  • Independent and health-conscious shoppers feel safer.
  • Associates have more time to help customers with purchases (and there’s fewer needed)
  • It uses a camera-enabled smartphone, not expensive high-end equipment.

Customers love this type of shopping because it works. With an integration of it into a customer app, shoppers can use their smartphones to gain enterprise-grade barcode scanners to manage their shopping. It’s an effortless process.

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