Do you ever get tired of waiting in line at the cash register to pay for goods you are ready to purchase? Time seems to be of the essence for many of us in North America, and some retailers have seen this as an opportunity to help reduce wait times at the cash register by providing mobile cash registers that can be used anywhere within stores to help customers through the checkout process.
Just last month, dollar store operator Dollarama announced that it plans on using mobile cash registers in its stores to help reduce long lineups, especially during seasonal rushes. This concept is new for dollar store operators.
The company said it plans to have a few handheld checkouts in most stores next year, but will start installing Wi-Fi and some devices this year to aid with inventory counts.
Other retailers are also utilizing mobile checkout to help improve the checkout experience.
Apple is in the technology business, so it is no surprise that the company has gained a high degree of exposure for its utilization of mobile checkout devices. Employees can go through the checkout process with customers anywhere within the store and receipts are either printed out or emailed directly to customers.
Costco has also experimented with mobile checkout by allowing employees to scan a customers’ grocery cart of goods while they are waiting in line to pay. The customer is given a barcode, which they give to the cashier to process payment. This helps reduce time for customers that are standing in line. Typically, employees will scan customers with a smaller number of items.
Nordstrom started the mobile checkout program within its stores in 2011 in a bid to provide superior customer service. In 2012, the company announced it deployed over 6,000 of these devices and later on deployed many more.
The app on Nordstrom’s POS mobile devices provides employees with access to inventory information. Employees can provide customers with information on different sizes, colours and similar products that may be available.
Home Depot just rolled out its second-generation smartphone that is smaller and weighs less than the previous version. The new phones provide employees with Internet access, the Home Depot mobile app, an inventory management tool, walkie-talkie functionality, and the ability to check out customers anywhere within the store, including the garden centre.
A look at mobile checkouts in stores wouldn’t be complete without a look at Wal-Mart, the biggest retailer in the world. Wal-Mart tested a Scan & Go app where customers could scan items as they shopped and this could help speed up the checkout process.
The experiment was tested in 200 stores and was dropped last year after customers couldn’t figure out how to use the program.
Perhaps customers aren’t quite ready to process their own purchases yet, but retailers can still help simplify the checkout process utilizing different methods.
Wal-Mart is now testing a revolutionary technology by Digimarc called invisible watermarking that allows scanners to read barcodes from anywhere on a product’s packaging.
An instagram post from Wal-Mart’s Chief Executive explained how its Lab 415-C is testing the concept on a bag of potato chips.
Most retailers have updated their websites in recent years and have created mobile sites and apps with a variety of useful features. However, the in-store mobile checkout process is still in the early stages as the majority of retailers do not offer this type of service, and for those who do, they will gain first mover advantages and loyalty from customers for this type of superior customer service experience.