Wegmans is shutting down its self-checkout app as it led to rampant shoplifting and amounted to considerable losses.
The company first launched its scan-and-go app in 2019, just as Amazon was starting to build its network of Amazon Go stores and as more consumers preferred using their mobile devices for shopping and in-store purchases.
While the app-enabled self-checkout service offered a faster and more convenient experience to shoppers, it also resulted in higher fraud rates, shoplifting, and other losses that are not seen when customers check out with cashiers.
“Unfortunately, the losses we are experiencing prevent us from continuing to make it available in its current state,” the company said. “We’ve made the decision to turn off the app until we can make improvements that will meet the needs of our customers and business.”
Wegmans’ struggle with its self-checkout technology is something retailers across the board are facing.
“If you had a retail store where 50% of transactions were through self-checkout, losses would be 77% higher” than average, said Adrian Beck, a former professor at the University of Leicester who studies retail losses.
Many of these losses come as some customers choose not to scan items before putting them in their bags, while others scan cheaper items when in reality, they are checking out expensive products. Some even chose to scan everything but walk away without making a payment, CNN reported.
Still, the use of self-checkout technology is continuing to gain momentum in the retail landscape as retailers look to cut overhead costs and deal with labor shortages.