Almost everyone enjoys shopping, but the act of waiting at the checkout line is probably one of those things equally despised by everyone, especially on the holidays. Retailers have been trying to find a seamless solution that will keep customers going in and out like a fined tuned assembly line, but until now it didn't look promising. Two technologies making this seamless experience possible are smart mobile devices and the Internet of Things (IoT). By connecting everything, and making it accessible through mobile devices, retailers are introducing new solutions, including the eventual elimination of the traditional Point of Sale (POS) system.
According to Michael Chui, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute, the business and economics unit for consultant McKinsey & Co., "A lot of the things we discovered we can do online, now, with the Internet of Things, we can also do offline." One of the things the IoT will allow retailers to do is have greater control of each item in the store.
Using RFID, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi as well as other technologies, everything in the store can be tracked as it is picked up from the shelves and placed in the shopping cart. As the customer continues shopping, each item in the shopping cart is scanned with a running total. Depending on the system the store has in place, customers can either make a payment using their mobile devices or use another form of payment. The goal is to reduce the amount of time it takes to process the items a customer wants to purchase.
This process begins when customers walk into the store with their mobile device. Once the customer is recognized, his or her stored payment information can initiate the checkout process. Whenever they pick up an item or place it in the designated area, it can be debited from their account. As Chiu stated, "people have said when checkout is working really well, it will feel like stealing." There are still some kinks that need to be worked out until we reach to this point, but companies like PayPal have rolled out convenient mobile payment systems without having to talk to the cashier or using traditional form of payments such as credit cards.
Mobile POS has seen steady progress, and according to the IHL Group, shipment is set to grow 95 percent worldwide in 2014, with the North American market set to reach 108-percent growth during the same year. The market is dominated by Apple at 39.9 percent, with Motorola (News - Alert) Solutions, Hewlett Packard, and MICROS showing growth potential in 2014.
As mobile, telecom, M2M and other technologies continue to be integrated into the IoT, the synergy between all of these companies and the products and services they sell will flow smoothly from one touch point to another without any conflict.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey