Scandinavian retail chain integrates VMS with point-of-sale system

COPENHAGEN – July 26, 2012. Milestone Systems’ open platform IP video management software (VMS) has been custom-integrated with a point-of-sale (POS) cash register transaction system as a valuable tool for loss prevention and controlling shrinkage in a chain of retail stores in Scandinavia called Matas.

Creams, perfumes and other personal care products are items that most people regularly pay for. However, some people prefer not to pay, which is why the retail chain Matas installed integrated video surveillance in many of its stores. Now the stores are able to compare cash register transactions with recorded video evidence. Matas personnel are pleased with this and would actually like to have more monitoring.

Matas has 2,500 employees, more than 25 million transactions per year and annual revenue of approximately 4 billion Danish crowns. Shrinkage is a problem that costs both human resources and money on the bottom line. For Matas management, shrinkage control is a high priority, so it was decided in 2010 to intensify the fight against it. One of the ways was with advanced IP video surveillance, initially in 65 of the chain's 258 stores.

Matas already has video surveillance in its stores, but it consists of many disparate systems that are difficult to support when they fail, and it is not easy to train new employees to use them. In addition, transactions at the cash register are not directly connected with the video recordings, which makes it time consuming to find suspicious incidents at checkout. Now these problems are solved in the stores where Matas has installed a Milestone solution.

"With the old systems, to identify shrinkage and procedural errors to clarify doubts about payments or giving change, we had to manually compare the video evidence with POS events from the cash register. It was costly and also meant we had to guess about possible false transaction events," says Marianne Gernyx Sejbak, Security Manager at Matas.

Cash register and video in sync

Matas therefore decided to implement advanced video surveillance equipment in 65 of its large stores, which could correlate transactions from cash registers with the video monitoring. The new solution is centralized so all system administration can be undertaken from the headquarters. Each store manager can leave the investigative work to central control and instead focus time on the daily management of the local store. However, the store managers do have access to video evidence so it can be used in connection with events such as shoplifting or payment disputes.

The video surveillance solution is XProtect® Corporate VMS and XProtect® Retail add-on software from Milestone Systems, implemented by EG Retail & Media, Scandinavia's largest supplier of IT solutions to retailers and media houses. The POS system generates documentation for all transactions, which is associated with the video evidence and simultaneously displayed on the screen via the Milestone XProtect® software.

"We are automatically alerted by the monitoring system when something seems abnormal at the cash register," says Helle Bakkendorf, Shop Controller and daily user of the system. "Cash registers might have been opened without any purchase taking place, or there might be canceled transactions where the customer pays in cash but the money is not in the cash register, suspicious transactions after closing, return sales on an exact amount and so on. We can also search a given period, actual amounts that were paid in cash, by credit card or gift certificate, or on specific brands and see the corresponding video recording. We can target our investigative work much better than before."

Beneficial for employees and customers

The system spares loyal Matas employees from possible suspicion of internal shrinkage. If it does occur, cases are resolved fast. Matas can now avoid such matters dragging on over extended periods which can generate a bad work environment. Video surveillance has actually become so popular that staff at the other stores ask for it, too.

"We obviously want maximum job satisfaction and well-being for our good employees and fortunately we have many of them," says Sejbak. "Video surveillance is largely implemented to provide security and safety - in connection with theft and assault, questions surrounding shrinkage and customer disputes. Did the customer get the right amount? There is no doubt now since we immediately resolve it with evidence on the screen."

The video solution also contains people counting analytics, which tally the number of customers in a store. Each store can compare this with the number of sales and adjust work schedules to ensure proper staffing for better customer service. The entire solution thereby works as a management tool to optimize operations.

"There are many advantages to the new video surveillance. It has created a much better working environment for all our dedicated employees, who can now concentrate on what they do best, namely to advise on and sell beauty, skincare and health products. It also has an anti-theft effect. Matas plans to get the same video surveillance installed in more stores," says Bakkendorf.

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