Mobile Retail Technologies Cut Down the Checkout Line and Aid Inventory Lookup

BizTech – The handheld tools can also help brick-and-mortar stores collect valuable customer data.

For some shoppers, the sight of a long or slow-moving checkout line — even at self-scan kiosks, which aren’t always a quicker option — might deter a sale. At the very least, an unexpected delay could create a negative impression of a retailer’s staffing and efficiency.

That concern has led some brick-and-mortar brands to deploy handheld devices to their employees with the intent of helping customers pay for items on the fly. Target and Walmart each did so last year before the holiday shopping season.

Among potential clientele: The 52 percent of shoppers who, according to the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, skip the hectic Black Friday shopping weekend because they don’t enjoy the experience.

“We all know waiting in line is a massive pain,” regardless of the season, brand consultant Deb Gabor told the Los Angeles Times. Mobile in-store checkout technology, she said, is “lowering the barrier to getting people physically in the stores.”

That could help explain why two-thirds of North American retailers plan to offer a mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) option within the next three years, according the latest POS/Customer Engagement Benchmark Survey by Boston Retail Partners — practices that also include apps for customers to scan items and check out independently. Participating merchants range from Dollar General to Macy’s; both added a self-service feature for shoppers in 2018.

“To me, it’s a no-brainer and something every retailer should invest in,” Forrester retail analyst Sucharita Kodali tells BizTech. “Widespread customer adoption is going to take awhile, but it will eventually become a standard.”

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