In an under-reported buyout last week, business accounting, tax and payment solutions provider Intuit acquired the AisleBuyer mobile checkout solution. CEO of AisleBuyer Andrew Paradise confirmed the acquisition on his blog last week, saying "the rumors are true.” “AisleBuyer has joined the Intuit team to develop superior solutions to meet the mobile point of sale needs of small business.”
This deal brings to Intuit, which is trying to provide payment solutions for small businesses, an interesting app approach that knits the shopping experience to a self-checkout model. BostInno reports from sources that Intuit paid a considerable $80 million to $100 million for the three-year-old company. Nevertheless, Boston toy chain Magic Beans is the only retailer partner we have seen AisleBuyer say has deployed its technology.
We covered AisleBuyer’s early work with Magic Beans. The app can be downloaded to cell phones and used in-store to scan items, get information and pay for the item in-store without waiting on line. In a year of presence at the toy store, the companies seemed to have shown that when faced with long lines, shoppers will opt for self-checkout when the option is made apparent and easy. Almost 20% of purchases at Magic Beans last Black Friday were occurring on the AisleBuyer app.
As CEO Andrew Paradise explained, tying product research to the checkout can be extremely powerful. Scanning an item in-store appears to be a very strong sign of purchase intent, with 60% of scans leading to a purchase. And the opportunities for upselling off that intent can be tremendous.
In buying AisleBuyer, Intuit gets some fuel for its own GoPayment solution, which like Square and other SMB products allows businesses to ring up sales via devices. AisleBuyer will help them knit that into a polished app that also allows self-checkout and product research. With Intuit’s leverage among business owners, there is the possibility of some interesting combinations of consumer and store clerk dual apps. Just once I would like to see the aisle walker (sometimes stalker) not treat a shopper’s cell phone as the enemy. There is huge opportunity for retailers to engage the smartphone in the aisle itself.
Let the buyer and clerk work from the same mobile screen or from companion apps that can help the shopper get what they want and need.
When we spoke to Paradise earlier this year, AisleBuyer had just released an SDK that allowed the self-checkout functionality to be integrated with other retailers’ existing apps. At the time the company promised that grocery stores were about to deploy the system.