Commentary

Mobile Shopping & In-Bag Checkout

In-aisle checkout may be getting closer.

At the annual eTail East conference and exhibition in Boston yesterday, one of the most interesting displays I came across involved an innovative approach to in-aisle shopping.

The idea is that as a consumer shops the store aisles, the costs of items selected are automatically tabulated on the shopper’s smartphone for in-aisle checkout.

The demo, by Boston-based SapientNitro, used small RFID-tags on products and a reader inside the bag.

As an item is placed into the bag, the tag is read and the product information, including price, is sent to the shopper’s smartphone.

At checkout time, the consumer simply OKs the purchase via smartphone and then is on their way, skipping the checkout line.

And it worked as advertised in a demonstration for me by Tony Terranova, director of partner marketing, and Michael Ayers, senior manager at Sapient Nitro.

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Terranova said in-bag checkout is a working concept and could ultimately involve different types of sensing or code reading technologies, though for the demo Sapient selected RFID.

This is not the first in-aisle shopping innovation to come out of Sapient.

At the National Retail Federation conference in January, Sapient showed beacon-triggered information changing nearby screen displays, as I wrote about here at the time (In-Pocket, Phone Beaconing: Tapping into the Store Shopper).

Sapient showed another variation of that at eTail East yesterday, with in-store displays linked to smartphone activity, so that products on the in-store screen changed on-the-fly.

The next step is for a retailer to step up to try this out on shoppers, who will determine which aspects of in-bag checkout they may or may not like.

2 comments about "Mobile Shopping & In-Bag Checkout".
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  1. mike boland from BIA/Kelsey, August 12, 2015 at 8:01 p.m.

    I've been predicting in-aisle payments for a while. But I think RFID is overkill and logistically difficult. A lower barrier scenerio is what Apple already does in its own stores -- you can scan an item's barcode using your iphone, then check out using itunes or Apple Pay.  No extra chips or tags... just using the phone already in your pocket and the billing relationship you likely already have with Apple via iTunes or Apple Pay. Getting consumers to sign up for additional billing relationships will be difficult and is the most under-recognized reason why Apple is better positioned than anyone to own in-aisle payments. It owns the hardware (iphone), software (apple Pay and wallet app), and consumer billing backbone (800 million pre-existing itunes accounts).  

    http://streetfightmag.com/2014/02/10/apples-next-trick-making-the-retail-pos-disappear/

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, August 13, 2015 at 10:28 a.m.

    RFID may be overkill, Mike, but Sapient made a point that they used that technology just for the demonstration at the show and that they could use various other technologies. The general idea was to show retialers the concept at the show.

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