Theft prevention through behavioral psychology

At Fygi, we appreciate a good piece of text about Scan Pay Go. Our whole business is nurtured by retailers who want to provide their customers with a smoother shopping experience. Our industry is still in its early days, but more and more retailers seem ready to embrace the new age, but the issue of theft has not been properly addressed. Before now.

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The world is moving fast now. Faster, in fact, than the Scan Pay Go industry is capable of communicating. The main weakness of how mobile-based self-service is communicated, is that it’s displayed simply as an extension of the Point of Sale (POS). As the New Way to Pay. This is not wrong of course, but it’s outdated and an understatement.

We will print a series of articles describing what one should expect from a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) POS, such as Fygi Scan Pay Go, and the new shopping experiences it brings. As a player in the self-servicing market, the first thing we need to talk about is the elephant in the room: how to deal with theft.

Our competitors do not talk about theft. Despite the fact that theft is among the key concerns for many retailers considering self-service solutions, the supplier side does not address the issue. While participating at the EHI Technologie Tagen in Bonn, Germany some weeks back, I understood why.

Preciously few players in this market have any anti-theft measures embedded into their solutions at all. At Fygi, we have a four-stepped approach to this important question, the first of the steps being what we call Digital Anti-theft Prevention (DAP).

In order to understand Fygi DAP, one needs to understand that self-service encourages, or creates, a new kind of thief.

So, who are these new thieves?

It’s literally anyone, sadly.

People who are not originally inclined to steal or sneak items away from the check-out process, may start doing so when not feeling observed.

DAP makes users of Fygi Scan Pay Go feel that someone is watching them. And equally important, the consumer won’t feel bad about it. DAP is designed by the Oslo-based behavioral psychologists in Mindshift. The Mindshift psychology professionals are experts at preventing anti-social behavior, simply by pushing mental buttons that people are unaware of and didn’t know they had.

To create the desired effect, Fygi DAP emphasizes elements that payment technology has neglected up until now.

We take advantage of the cognitive dissonance in people, for instance the conflict between one’s moral values and planned bad actions.

Further, we play on the desire to follow social norms, which is especially effectful on the young audience. Positive reinforcement and reward-seeking always work, as does the prospect of punishment. Forced user actions increase commitment, especially in combination with negative reinforcement, which is to perform an action to avoid a negative outcome. Finally, we play on people’s predisposition to imitate others’ behavior, which we are all inclined to do.

All these psychological triggers are embedded in Fygi DAP, as the elements are displayed in the user interface of Fygi Scan Pay Go as an avatar communicating with the customer. DAP is a nice and polite digital shopping assistant that prevents the new casual, non-professional potential wrong-doer from anti-social behavior. This works simply because DAP creates empathetic emotions in the customer towards the shop, so stealing causes personal discomfort.

No two retailers are the same, and the companies working with Fygi can expect us to propose a tailored set of anti-theft measures from our bank of psychological triggers. The customer group of the retailer tells us which initiatives are the most efficient.

The next release in our article series describing what to expect from a BYOD POS, discusses anti-theft, too. Then I will tell you about hybrid retail and how we will redefine the in-store check-out process.

You should not miss that article. The market has never seen anything like it (NOT an exaggeration).

Stay tuned and stay safe.

Amund, CEO


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