Combating Self-Service Checkout Abuse with Video Analytics Software

In recent years, self-service checkout (SSCO) systems have become increasingly prevalent in retail stores, offering convenience and efficiency for both shoppers and retailers alike. However, the rise of SSCO abuse, leading to heightened levels of shrinkage and violence against retail workers, has sparked a heated debate over the pros and cons of these systems. With some retailers, such as Booths, opting to remove SSCO machines altogether due to the associated risks, it’s clear that urgent action is needed to address these challenges.

The Divided Opinion on SSCO Systems

SSCO systems have been hailed for their ability to streamline the checkout process, reduce labour costs, and provide convenience for shoppers. Customers appreciate the speed and autonomy afforded by self-checkout lanes, allowing them to complete their purchases quickly and efficiently. Additionally, retailers benefit from increased throughput and reduced staffing requirements, resulting in improved operational efficiency and cost savings.

However, the proliferation of SSCO machines has also brought about a dark side, characterised by rising levels of theft and abuse. The ease with which items can be stolen from self-checkout machines, coupled with the cumbersome nature of the checkout process, has made it all too tempting for some shoppers to exploit these systems for their own gain. Reports indicate that shoppers are 21 times more likely to sneak items past self-checkout machines than human cashiers, leading to significant losses for retailers.

The Impact of SSCO Abuse on Retailers & Staff

The consequences of SSCO abuse extend far beyond financial losses. The escalating levels of theft and violence against retail workers have taken a toll on staff morale, contributing to increased absences and diminished job satisfaction. Moreover, the economic impact of retail theft is staggering, with the British Retail Consortium’s 2023 Crime Survey revealing that annual retail theft in Britain amounted to £953 million, despite significant investments in crime prevention measures.

The prevalence of SSCO abuse has created a hostile work environment for frontline retail workers, who face daily threats of violence and abuse from disgruntled customers. Incidents of violence and abuse towards retail colleagues nearly doubled on pre-pandemic levels, reaching an alarming average of 867 incidents every day in 2021/22. This trend is deeply concerning and underscores the urgent need for effective solutions to address the root causes of SSCO abuse. 

Empowering Retailers with Video Technology

In the face of these challenges, technology offers a beacon of hope for retailers seeking to combat SSCO abuse and enhance security in their stores. VCA Technology’s innovative cameras and video analytics software solutions provide retailers with the tools they need to detect and deter theft, protect their staff, and safeguard their bottom line.

By deploying surveillance cameras equipped with intelligent video analytics capabilities, retailers can monitor SSCO transactions in real-time and identify suspicious behaviour patterns indicative of theft or abuse. This proactive approach allows retailers to reduce losses and  ultimately creating a safer and more secure shopping environment for both customers and staff.

Take A Stand Against Retail Theft & Violence

VCA Technology’s forensic video analytics software solutions empower retailers to provide police with comprehensive evidence to aid in the prosecution of shoplifters and perpetrators of violence. Using existing CCTV cameras, this simple addition will provide a huge asset to existing security systems and equip retailers with the technology they need to gather sufficient evidence of criminal activity.

VCAforensics’ ‘Search & Track’ software can enable retailers to search hours of CCTV footage to locate a person of interest within minutes.

Want To Find Out More?

If you are keen to understand more about how VCA Technology can help your retail store in the fight against retail crime and self-service checkout abuse, please get in touch via email: or use the contact form below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

VCA Technology has sales and support offices in Europe, Asia and the USA.