Self Checkout on Your Phone
By David Dorf on Aug 24, 2010
Self checkout is the norm for gas stations, and its seems well-accepted at my local Home Depot too. But I haven't seen it many other places, which is too bad because its usually faster for shoppers and cheaper for retailers. AisleBuyer recently unveiled their innovative approach to self checkout, and it involves your mobile phone.
Shoppers download the mobile application, then use their phone's camera to scan items to get product information. They add items to their cart (literally and virtually in the mobile application) and eventually press the checkout button to pay. A credit card is necessary during the first checkout and is reused thereafter. A receipt is displayed on the phone which is shown to any employee on the way out. Magic Beans, a Boston area retailer, is their first customer. Read more about the implementation here.
I met Andrew Paradise, the CEO and Founder of AisleBuyer, at a recent ARTS meeting in Chicago while working on the NRF Mobile Blueprint for Retail. Andrew has been on both the start-up and private equity sides of the business, so he's got all angles covered. I asked him a few questions about his new company; the Q&A is below:
1. What does AisleBuyer do?
AisleBuyer is the first mobile self-checkout and receipt technology which not only eliminates lines, but offers product reviews and targeted discounts and couponing.
2. What are the benefits for consumers and retailers?
For consumers, there are several benefits, including the ability to never wait in line again. Using the AisleBuyer powered applications, consumers simply scan their items, add them to a virtual shopping cart, and pay with a card stored directly in the application. A consumer can also use the application to find the nearest store, receive special offers, and suggested items based on their shopping behavior.
Retailers greatly enhance customer satisfaction by offering the AisleBuyer Mobile self-checkout service. They do this by being able to deliver personalized 'in-aisle' offers, by providing customers with convenient & time-saving mobile self-checkout option, and by freeing up store personnel to more closely interact with and assist shoppers. In addition, there are significant financial benefits from choosing AisleBuyer...like getting the cost-saving benefits of self-checkout without the $150,000 - $500,000 per store implementation costs of a typical Hardware solution.
Add to this an unprecedented analytics package which provides retailers with information previously only available to e-tailers and you have a pretty compelling story.
3. Won't this approach increase shrink?
Because of the real-time analytics, retailers know whether or not people in their store are using the application. Upon completion of a purchase, the consumer receives a digital receipt which contains a Unique Verification Code (UVC). This same UVC is reflected instantly on the store's POS monitor. The customer is instructed by the app to simply show this to a store clerk who will then quickly check it off as verified, and the shopper is on their way. As is currently the practice in store's with self checkout hardware solutions, the clerk may randomly check the items in a shopper's bag. Our system does not require the retailer to change their current practices.
Because our system ties directly into the store's POS software, the store's inventory and replenishment are automatically updated.
4. What do you think the future looks like for in-store mobile?
In-store mobile is clearly a growing market. There are applications which allow shoppers to check in, earn points, get coupons and compare prices. What is clear is that as new generations of shoppers emerge, mobile in increasingly the tool of choice in the shopping process. 64% of Gen Y shoppers used mobile for shopping acitivities, nearly double the rate of boomers and 30% higher than the rate for Gen X shoppers. We think that by providing convenience and utility for shoppers with measurable ROI for retailers, AisleBuyer is well positioned to help define the future of in-store mobile.