If you've ever visited a store that utilizes "Self Checkout", you can appreciate the time savings that it offers to consumers who need to quickly get in and get out with their purchases. But what if there was something even better and even faster than self checkout? The future of shopping is just around the corner and it is coming in the form of mobile transactions, or mobile checkout.
What is mobile checkout and how does it work?
Researchers and developers have now come up with a way for you to make purchases onsite with your mobile phone. Smartphone applications will enable you to easily scan the item or items that you would like to purchase. Upon scanning, your mobile device will interact with the retailer's POS systems to remove the items from inventory and calculate your total. Although the process of making smartphone purchases and business transactions is still in the beta phase of creation and testing, it is speculated that payments are likely to be made via mobile "wallets". These virtual wallets, like the application already created by Google, are basically a way of carrying all of your credit and debit cards with you everywhere you go in a way that is safe and secure via cloud computing. These types of wallet applications are likely to be integrated into mobile checkout apps so that purchases can be made with the simple tapping of a button on the screen of your smartphone. A virtual "receipt" on the screen of your phone will then be your ticket out of the store with your purchases.
What are the benefits of mobile checkout?
The biggest perk of making mobile purchases is the ability to avoid long lines. When you only need to pick up a few items, there will no longer be any reason to wait in a long queue when you can check out with your phone. This means that you'll be able to spend more of your valuable time doing things that you actually want to do instead of being bogged down by errands. Mobile checkout also comes with benefits for merchants. Retailers will be able to save money on checkout staff, and the usage of virtual wallet applications will help to reduce merchant fees on credit or debit card transactions. It's a win-win!
Who is using mobile checkout?
In September of 2012, a Walmart store in Arkansas became amongst the first to test out the ability of "scan and go" technology to decrease the length of checkout lines. Although findings from the test have not yet been released, should the experiment prove successful for the world's largest retailer, you can expect that mobile checkout will soon spread like wildfire.