Wegmans shuts down self-checkout app after too many shoplifters

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The app, Wegmans SCAN, promised customers faster checkout and also allowed them to see their running total as they shopped.

This week, the grocer announced it was terminating the app due to rampant shoplifting.

“Unfortunately, the losses we are incurring prevent us from continuing to make it available in its current state,” the company said in a statement. “We have made the decision to disable the app until we can make improvements that will meet the needs of our customers and our business.”

Wegmans did not provide any details about losses incurred with the app.

The channel launched its “scan-and-go” app as Amazon (AMZN) was beginning to expand its Amazon Go stores without a cashier. Many other traditional retailers have also rushed to keep pace with Amazon and introduced their own scan-and-go style apps. Wegmans called it “right technology” at the “right time.”

Changing habits

This type of mobile technology has become increasingly popular with younger, more tech-savvy shoppers. It has also gained traction during the pandemic as consumers seek to reduce close interactions with employees and other customers.

But the scan-and-go has had unintended consequences for stores: higher levels of shoplifting, fraud and other losses than would normally occur at traditional checkouts manned by cashiers.

In a 2018 report on the losses associated with self-service payment systems, Adrian Beck, professor emeritus at the University of Leicester in the UK, said that scan-and-go “currently offers much less opportunities to amplify risks and improve detection” compared to traditional systems. checkouts or self-service payment terminals.

There are many types of scan-and-go theft, including customers who intentionally don’t scan items or scan items that are cheaper than what they put in their carts.

Self-checkout abusers say it’s “easy to do, reaps rich rewards, and even if caught, leads to little or no penalties being applied,” Beck said in the report, which analyzed 140 million of scan-and-go application transactions. .

A retailer shared data with Beck comparing its stores with and without scan-and-go apps. Those who had the technology had an 18% higher loss rate than those who did not.

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Cnn

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