Woolworths beefs up security camera checkout surveillance

Huge changes to Woolworths’ self-service checkouts that every Aussie needs to know about

  • Woolworths installing surveillance cameras to reduce ‘mis-scans’ at checkouts
  • The cameras make it much harder for shoppers to bag items without scanning
  • Fake swiping – bagging without paying – cost Australian retailers up to $9 billion 
  • New systems also catch out people who don’t scan bulk items in trolleys  

Changes to Woolworths checkouts to ‘reduce misscans’ will also catch out Australian shoppers who ‘fake swipe’ to bag groceries without paying.

The supermarket said it would try to cut out errors and stealing by installing powerful new surveillance systems that record customers at any checkout.

Shoppers were concerned by in-store signs warning they could be filmed, especially over use of cameras in self-service lanes. 

Woolworths is rolling out big changes to all its checkouts to 'reduce misscans' that will also catch out Australian shoppers who try to bag groceries without paying

Woolworths is rolling out big changes to all its checkouts to ‘reduce misscans’ that will also catch out Australian shoppers who try to bag groceries without paying

Woolworths is rolling out surveillance cameras at self-serve and operator-assisted checkouts (pictured, the camera system is located on the arm above the checkouts)

If the camera system detects an item hasn't been scanned it sets off a red light above the checkout

Woolworths is rolling out surveillance cameras at self-serve and operator-assisted checkouts to reduce incidents of fake swiping 

Woolworths said the new camera technology trial was to see if it could help reduce misscans and improve speed for customers through the checkout’.

‘If a misscan occurs, a short video highlights the affected product and customers then have the opportunity to re-scan it,’ it said.

‘While most customers do the right thing at our self-serve checkouts, we’re all busy and mistakes can easily happen.’

Woolworths said the technology is used internationally and ‘should make the self-serve scanning process more accurate’. 

However, most shoppers and retail observers expect the supermarket’s real motivation is to catch more stealing at self-service checkouts. 

Fake swiping by shoppers at self-serve checkouts costs Australian shops up to $9 billion a year, the Australian Retailers Association claimed.

Retail analysts claimed Australian shoppers don’t feel bad about fake swiping – also known as ‘micro thefts’ – because it’s seen as stealing from a ‘robot’.

Woolworths’ new camera technology detects when something has bypassed your scanner by filming the area the customer is standing in, then stops the checkout process and sets off a red light above.

The technology halts the checkout process to replay a video on the checkout screen in front of you if it senses an item being put into a bag without being scanned

The technology halts the checkout process to replay a video on the checkout screen in front of you if it senses an item being put into a bag without being scanned

On social media Australians reacted to in-store signs warning customers they could be filmed with a mix of anger and concern

On social media Australians reacted to in-store signs warning customers they could be filmed with a mix of anger and concern

It then replays a video of the issue on the checkout screen in front of you.

The footage, which blurs faces and the payment keypad, is kept by Woolworths in case police ask to see it later. 

The system covers all checkout lanes in stores trialling the new cameras, including those with operators scanning your groceries.

That means the cameras can pick up customers ‘forgetting’ to pay for bulk or heavy items in their trolleys – like 24 packs of drinks or a tray of dog food cans.

As soon as a shopper accidently or deliberately pushes their trolley past the scanner or the checkout operator, if it contains contains any products, the red light above will go off and show the operator a video of the problem.

The new anti-theft camera systems were first trialled at Woolworths Seven Hills in western Sydney, followed by Hornsby, Neutral Bay, Chullora, and Carnes Hill.

The trial will be expanded to hundreds of stores across NSW, Victoria, and Queensland with other states and territories to follow.

Woolworths has 1,086 stores across Australia.

‘At the end of the day you’ve got nothing to worry about if you do the right thing,’ a retail source told Daily Mail Australia.

As soon as a shopper accidently or deliberately pushes their trolley past the scanner or the checkout operator, if it contains contains any products, the red light above will go off and show the operator a video of the problem

As soon as a shopper accidently or deliberately pushes their trolley past the scanner or the checkout operator, if it contains contains any products, the red light above will go off and show the operator a video of the problem

Woolworths said it would ‘listen closely to both customer and team feedback on the trial over the coming months’.

But no matter what opposition shoppers have to the cameras it’s unlikely the supermarket leader would step back from the new anti-theft camera.

Shoppers advised each other online to instruct the supermarket that they don’t consent to being filmed.

But the technology is legal in Australia, so the retail source said refusing to agree would only lead to being told to shop somewhere else.

‘Anytime you go just about anywhere you walk past CCTV so it’s hardly new,’ one said.

Source

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