What is scan avoidance technology?

Numerous retailers around the world are now trialling technologies to try and identify when a consumer has not scanned an item. The most common is a weight-based security check where the system monitors the weight of all the items placed in the checkout area and compares that with the weight of all the items that have been scanned. If an item has not been scanned but placed in the checkout area, it will in theory trigger an alert. While regarded by many as a good form of security, they can generate a considerable number of false interventions, particularly if the weight-based product database is not kept up to date.

Retailers are also trying video-based systems to identify scan avoidance. Using overhead cameras, the system tracks the movement of products across and around the scan area and compares that with product registrations on the Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) system. If an item is ‘seen’ to move across the scan area but is not recorded on the EPOS system, then an alarm can be triggered. This is challenging technology to make work accurately and early iterations often generated high levels of false positives and negatives. However, providers of more recent versions of this technology claim that the level of accuracy is now much improved and can be used to prompt users to rescan items which have not been registered on the EPOS system without recourse to generating a response from a member of staff.