The Expanding World of Mobile Payments: Self-checkout

Today we’re going to talk about mobile self-checkout systems, and how they’re going to affect the way we shop.

Most of us are used to the self-checkout kiosks seen at grocery stores. These bulky units have reduced the time it takes to shop by providing customers with the option to interact with a machine rather than a person. Recent studies demonstrate that half of shoppers are choosing this method over that of interacting with a cashier.

Self-checkout kiosk at Walgreens

Currently self-checkout kiosks simply allow the customer to scan products, calculate totals, make payments, and bag purchases. Most of this functionality can be replaced by a smartphone-based solution, but kiosks may still be relevant moving forward. This is an area of hot debate in the space at the moment, but we suspect some form of checkout kiosk will persist as smartphone-based self-checkout solutions evolve.

A group of retailers including 7-Eleven, Best Buy, CVS and Wal-Mart recently announced they’d be teaming up to form a company focused on enabling a smartphone-based checkout solution for their customers. Regardless of their success, this move indicates that major retailers are ready to head in this direction. New and innovative solutions like those provided by QThru or Tesco are in a great postion by already offering this functionality. As solutions like these are demonstrated in the marketplace they are likely to hasten the spread of mobile self-checkout into other retail segments besides grocery.  Let’s have a closer look at these awesome solutions:

Qthru provides a solution that allows customers to total items as they shop in-store by scanning product barcodes.  When the customer is ready to check out, they simply scan a barcode on a kiosk at the front of the store. Utilizing Scandit technology, QThru is certainly paving the way forward for mobile self-checkout. Learn more about Qthru by reading our case study.

Tesco recently launched “virtual fridges” at Gatwick Airport, a “smart” poster system that allows users to purchase grocery items through their smartphones while waiting at the airport. The user downloads an app, scans product barcodes on a poster and then the items are delivered to their home. See the Tesco virtual fridge in action:

Self-checkout is just one area where the mobile payments space is expanding. In our next post, we’ll look at mobile point-of-sale (POS) solutions provided by companies like Square, Verifone, Intuit, and Paypal, and more. Stay tuned!