Self-Checkout Theft: How to Make Sure it Doesn’t Happen to You

Angela Barlow


An essential part of running a successful retail store is ensuring the necessary security measures are in place. Security cameras, sensors at the door, and vigilant employees are a few of the ways stores protect against loss, theft and shrinkage.  

The introduction of the self-checkout has opened the door to theft in a unique way. According to recent studies, this is found to be especially common in the UK. In an article titled “Nation of Shoplifters: the Rise of Supermarket Self-Checkout Scams,” Guardian writer Alex Moshakis outlines just how troublesome self-checkout theft has become in the UK.  Moshakis cites a study by Voucher Codes Pro, a sales coupon website, in which 2,532 shoppers were surveyed about their supermarket habits. Close to a quarter of them had committed theft at a self-checkout machine on at least one occasion. That same report concluded that the estimated total cost of items stolen in 2017 was around £3bn. In 2014, that number was estimated to be £1.6bn. The Voucher Codes Pro report found that a fair amount of these cases are done by accident, such as a scanning error that went unnoticed. But, self-checkouts create such an ample opportunity for theft so many perpetrators know exactly what they are doing. 

This begs the question, how can grocery and retail store owners make sure that they limit their self-checkout loss? Let’s break down some of the solutions and technologies you should implement today to stop thieves from leaving your store without paying. 

Keep a Self-Checkout Attendant Nearby at All Times

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One of the biggest mistakes a store can make with its self-checkout area is to leave it completely unattended. When there isn’t an employee around to watch over the self-checkout stations, theft and loss are more significant. Occasionally, just the presence of an employee will be enough to deter someone from attempting illegal activity. 

Store employees can utilize solutions like ENS Self-Checkout kiosks, or ENS’ TechTower to create self-checkout employee stations, creating functional areas while also deterring theft.

Invest in Self-Checkout Scales

While implementing scales at your self-checkout isn’t going to completely stop potential thieves, it is still a solid solution that stores should be investing in. This can also help accidental shoplifters, too, as you can set up your POS system to alert them if they place an item on the scale to bag it without first scanning the barcode. In general, scales are considered best practice for grocery shops and retail stores. So, if you don’t have them yet, now is the time to incorporate them into your self-checkout setup. 

Place Security Cameras on Your Self-Checkout POS System

Another viable solution to deter shoplifting is placing security cameras near your POS system. If possible, include a screen that the shopper can see themselves on and shows that they are being recorded. While security cameras cannot stop shoplifting on their own, they are great for deterring shoplifters from actually carrying out the act.

Upgrade Your Self-Checkout Systems

Issues with scanners can lead to inadvertent theft. This means it’s essential for stores to upgrade outdated tech to ensure that each and every item is appropriately scanned and accounted for. 

If you’re looking to revamp your self-checkout area, consider upgrading your kiosk as well. Learn about the benefits of ENS’ modular self-checkout kiosk here. Take a look at our full list of solutions to see how else we can help you improve your POS systems. 

About ENS:

ENS Group has over 10 million products in use worldwide. And can be found in over 40 countries across the globe. We are the trusted solution in 85 of the top 100 US retailers, as well as leaders in the hospitality and financial industries. ENS also partners with some of the world’s largest technology companies to provide unique solutions for their devices.  We are proud to partner with Zebra, Toshiba, HP, Verifone, ingenico, Pax, Samsung, NCR, elo, Magtek and many others. 


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