Progressive Grocer

MAY 2015

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172 | Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What's Next | May 2015 POS Systems Technology POS equipment even when the store is not being remodeled. Yes, it's easier to budget new POS equipment into a remodel, but at the end of the day, retailers execute 'refresh' projects to update POS equipment and stay on as few variants of POS equipment as possible. Tis is important for the support organizations ranging from depot maintenance to hardware support dispatch services to software support and image management." Greg Buzek, president of Franklin, Tenn.-based researcher IHL Group, agrees with Yates that re- tailers should consider where they see their business in fve to seven years. He ofers these considerations: Consumers shopping on their mobile devices and bagging their own groceries Expansion and acquisition plans Click and collect as part of the plan "Te biggest mistake that grocers can make is making a decision based on where they have been," Buzek warns. "Consumers are changing, and their POS of the future needs to be fexible enough to go where the business is going. What the data is show- ing is that grocers, like all retailers, are working towards a single, centralized view of the customer that allows for interaction across devices. Tey want to write the code for any change once, and have that refected across all devices that the customer might be engaged through. Te UI [user interface] might be diferent, but the underlying code, underlying item and customer information is the same." Grocery retailers obviously use a variety of POS hardware and software. Te choice often depends on the size of the store and the number of weekly customer visits, as well as how forward-looking the retailer is in terms of technological knowledge and the changing demographics of its shopper base. Pittsburgh-based grocery chain Giant Eagle has a standard footprint for POS hardware using Toshi- ba SurePOS equipment built for the supermarket environment. Toshiba ACE is used across the orga- nization, which allows for developing initiatives and deploying them chain-wide quickly and efciently, according to spokesman Dan Donovan, who lists stability and meeting security requirements as the Preventing Theft at the POS "Sweethearting" in the checkout lane is when cashiers pretend to scan merchan- dise, but deliberately bypass the scanner. The customer — often a friend, relative or fellow employee working in tandem with the cashier — isn't charged for the merchan- dise. Sweethearting accounts for 35 percent of loss across the supermarket industry, according to the Washington, D.C.-based National Retail Federation (NRF). That kind of employee theft, plus scan avoidance at self-checkout, is prompting grocery retailers to install video recognition technology as part of the POS system to detect shoplifting. For example, Big Y Foods has installed a detection system in all of its 61 stores throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut. "Based on what we've seen with the initial installations, sweethearting has been more extensive than we expected, whether it's the cashier not scanning items or leaving them in the basket," noted Mark Gaudette, director of loss preven- tion at Springfield, Mass.-based Big Y, when piloting the sys- tem in 2008. "While we retailers can't increase our revenues in this economy, we can now reduce our shrink. Sweetheart- ing has contributed to the rising cost of food, and if we can prevent it, we can hold down food prices." Doug Haworth, director of loss prevention at Woods Super- markets, an eight-store family-owned chain based in Sedalia, Mo., says detection technology has significantly improved the performance of his cashiers. Shrink was drastically reduced after implementation in 2011. "There was far more bottom-of-the- basket (BOB) scan avoidance than we thought," he adds, referring to soft drinks, beer, watermelon and bags of potatoes stored on the rack beneath the shopping cart. "It was an eye-opener for me." Here's how such systems work: Video analytics technology determines what occurs during each POS transaction and immedi- ately distinguishes between legitimate and fraudulent behavior at the checkout. As soon as a scan avoidance incident occurs, the sys- tem, which constantly monitors 100 percent of the security video, flags the transaction as suspicious. Working with existing overhead video cameras, it quickly reports the incident, identifying the cashier or customer, and the date and time of the theft. This includes in- cidents due to cashier mistakes, customers at self-checkout, and items left in the shopping cart. "Using incidents detected from their own stores, su- permarkets can train staff on the signals indicating when customers are either having problems using the self-check- out or exhibiting suspicious behavior," says Malay Kundu, Founder/CEO of Cambridge, Mass.-based ShopLift Checkout Vision Systems, which makes the detection system used by Big Y and Woods Supermarkets. He adds that the Scan-It-All system has detected more than 1 million incidents at thousands of checkouts around the world. —John Karolefski If cashiers have issues with the POS equipment, the customer usually knows about it immediately." —Brian Yates, Fujitsu America

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