How Facial Tech Is Helping Retail Giants Prevent In-Store Thefts


Imagine a scenario when a shoplifter walks into your retail store and your cashier gets an instant alert on the terminal about being cautious.

With the aid of machine learning and facial recognition technologies, advanced video surveillance systems are now being able to recognize shoplifters. The systems build their database and alert staff as soon as they walk into a store, thus adding precious dollars to a retail chain’s bottomline.

Whether it’s simple products like chocolates or soft drinks or expensive ones such as electronics, retail stores experience shoplifting on a monthly basis.

According to estimates, about $3.3 billion or about 1% of all retail sales are lost every year, due to shoplifting in Australia and New Zealand.

Shoplifting now accounts for about 60% total losses in the retail sector, as per Australia and New Zealand Retail Crime Survey.

Baby food, face creams, vitamin supplements and smartphones are the most stolen items in Australia and New Zealand. Interestingly, about 1 in 5 shoplifters visits the same store again, as per the data.

Many shoplifters remove the RFID tags attached with the products and simply walk out of a store. Many simply walkout of a grocery store without placing an item for scanning at a self-checkout.

At the end of the month, retailers get the real picture of the amount of products stolen, after stock-taking.

It could take hours, even days for staff to scan through CCTV footage to find out the exact moment when the robbery took place in the month.

In such cases, advanced video surveillance systems now use a combination of machine learning, data analysis, and human viewing to catch theft, monitor markets, and save operators time watching footage.

With less than 10% of shoplifters ever getting prosecuted even after being reported to the Police, the only option left with retailers is to prevent the theft from happening at shop level by installing advanced video surveillance systems.

Latest video surveillance technology integrated with facial recognition software can identify products already present in your store with the ones that the customers are wearing.

It can alert staff to check for bills once a customer proceeds to the exit gates. World’s largest offline retailer Walmart is already experimenting with AI powered video surveillance called Missed Scan Detection at about 1,000 of its stores.

Once a person is caught taking an un-billed product out of a store, his or her details can be entered into a system and shared across stores, controlled by a retailer. It could also mean that the suspect could be banned from a large number of other retail outlets.

A study by Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC) says that over 44% of shoplifters said that if an employee or a CCTV camera was paying attention, they would not have committed the theft.

With a major pandemic and shopping season overlapping for the first time in decades, shoplifting and theft is expected to increase this Christmas across stores, making it imperative for retailers to install video surveillance systems and software.

(Wish to install CCTV cameras and loss prevention and theft detection systems in your retail store this shopping season? Contact us at HPAutomation today!)

Brand Note

Founded in 2017, Melbourne based HP Automation specialises in electronic security for both residential or commercial buildings. It offers retail based surveillance solutions to prevent and control thefts.