Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Security cameras can “see” a lot more these days…

June 15, 2009

stoplift-sweethearting-retail-goodsSweethearting (v.) the act of a store employee giving a friend or family member free merchandise by pretending to scan items at the register or by ignoring items in shopping carts.

It is one of the oldest tricks in the book and a big problem for retailers. So big, in fact, that some estimates suggest that “sweethearting” and other types of employee theft account for almost half of all annual retail theft, or $19.5 billion out of $41.6 billion overall.

Massachusetts-based StopLift Inc. says the answer is just waiting to be liberated from all of the security camera tape that retailers typically don’t monitor until something goes really, really wrong.

We’ve all seen the video of outrageous things that can happen in grocery stores, convenience shops, and retail outlets, but the reality is that watching the security feeds from cameras mounted above every register is time-consuming — so most of that video information goes unused.

StopLift’s computer software analyzes camera feeds by reading certain body motions and other signs that tip off sweethearting. From there, it’s up to managers to decide whether training or  termination is the right response.

You can see actual “sweethearting” caught by the software on StopLift’s homepage, here.

StopLift said its clients include Big Y and Safeway grocery stores.

(Picture and video: StopLift.com)

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
  •