Those who own an iPhone or Macbook is used to the sight of sales associates carrying around iPads in Apple stores to ring items customers choose to purchase. But more retailers are jumping on the bandwagon, eliminating outdated cash registers and replacing them with mobile payment systems.
J.C. Penney adopted the new technology last summer, which allows cashiers and salespeople to ring customers anyway in the store. The Plano-based department store first equipped all of its Levi’s stores with the technology, and hopes to have every cash register free by 2014. Nordstrom, a higher-end fashion retailer, has also moved away from cash registers and supplied mobile devices to salespeople. Urban Outfitters and Barneys New York are also making the change in the near future.
Another added benefit to going wireless in retail is the ability to have the entire company’s inventory at your fingertips. Instead of a salesperson having to call around to every store in the area to see if they have a particular item, inventory for the whole chain can be pulled up on the iPad or iPhone with a touch of a button. Mobile checkout is especially useful during the holiday season to prevent long lines and get customers in-and-out of the store as soon as possible. Properly equipped iPads and iPhones for mobile checkout are also far less expensive than a cash register. The Associated Press reported a cash register can run a store upwards of $4,000, compared to $1,500 for an iPad with a credit card reader installed.
Grocers and Others Joining The Party
Waiting in line at the grocery store with two carts full to the top in front of you can be extremely frustrating. Sam’s Club and Costco are two grocers already using technology to their advantages. Workers in supermarkets can scan items in the cart of a waiting customer, then print a barcode for the cashier to scan. This reduces wait times considerably and will offer customers an added incentive to shop at said establishments.
Several other businesses are utilizing technology to increase convenience for customers. Online cash advance services are becoming more popular every day, as an alternative to a Texas payday loan business. Some are even suggesting big-box retail stores will soon become browsing centers only, and customers will have to have all goods shipped to them.
Walmart “Scan & Go”
The largest retailer in the world has been testing its “scan & go” program in some of its Atlanta and Bentonville, Ark. stores since late 2012. The program allows shoppers to keep a running tally of how much they’re spending while ringing items up at the same time. Customers simply download the app and scan items as they put them in their shopping carts. A code is generated which can be scanned at the self-checkout lanes where customers now pay for and bag items. The app is currently only compatible with Apple products, but the company says an Android version is in the works.