StorefrontBacktalk: Mobile POS Beta Site Fear Keeps Checkout Right By Exit
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from StorefrontBacktalk, a site tracking retail technology, e-commerce and mobile commerce.
When NCR on Sept. 26 introduced its Apple-based mobile in-store checkout module called CPMobile, it went so far as to quote Hobby Superstore manager Emily Mitchell discussing "eliminating lines and congestion at point-of-sale stations" and saying that she saw "a huge benefit in being able to have these mobile units and employees set up in different areas of the store to make the checkout process quicker and easier."
Although Ms. Mitchell still agrees with those goals and dreams, she ended up instructing employees to not use the two NCR Apple checkout units anywhere other than at an existing POS area right by the exit.
As mobile payments inch along with advancing efforts from Google, ISIS and Paypal, and with Apple debating its plans, retailers are trying to balance two concepts: the ideals of mobile-payment strategies with the mundane, practical logistics issues. And nowhere did those two concepts collide more clearly than in the one-location, $3.5 million specialty store in Plantation, FL.
Some of Ms. Mitchell’s questions: Does she now have to spend more money—or divert precious personnel during busy hours—to have someone stationed at the door checking receipts? Doesn’t that send the wrong customer-friendly message? Will they now need a paper receipt, too, even if they want a digital copy?
More questions: How could someone at the door verify that the receipt is legitimate? For that matter, if the associate at the door is shown a digital receipt, how is he/she to know if it’s a valid receipt—as opposed to a doctored image—unless the associate scans the receipt’s barcode and runs a check to see if that item was indeed purchased in the prior 10 minutes?
Ms. Mitchell also said some customers saw the associate using the iPod Touch to try and scan the customer’s credit card and became worried that someone (hopefully, a store employee) was using his/her personal device to scan their payment cards.
Although the two of the mobile units have been tested since June, the staff has largely been getting used to the devices. "The real test is going to come in Christmas-time."
As for going back to the original plan of truly store-wide distribution, Ms. Mitchell said, "At this point, that’s our hope for next year." For retail mobile payment with large chains, those words are going to sound very familiar.
- Mobile POS Beta Site Fear Keeps Checkout Right By Exit – StorefrontBacktalk (Subs. required)
- NCR Introduces CPMobile, Transforming the Way Specialty Retailers Run Their Business – NCR/MarketWatch
Discussion Questions: What will be the main benefits and hurdles in the rollout of mobile POS? What may be some long-term challenges to widespread adoption of mobile POS?