Walmart is using computer vision technology to monitor checkouts and deter potential theft in more than 1,000 stores, the company confirmed to Business Insider.
The surveillance program, which Walmart refers to internally as Missed Scan Detection, uses cameras to help identify checkout scanning errors and failures.
The cameras track and analyze activities at both self-checkout registers and those manned by Walmart cashiers. When a potential issue arises, such as an item moving past a checkout scanner without getting scanned, the technology notifies checkout attendants so they can intervene.
The program is designed to reduce shrinkage, which is the term retailers use to define losses due to theft, scanning errors, fraud, and other causes.
US retailers lost an estimated 1.33% of revenues to shrinkage in 2017, totalling an estimated $47 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. If Walmart’s shrink rates match the industry average, the company’s US business would have lost more than $4 billion last year to theft and other related losses.