Check it Out: The Best of Both Worlds
Still old-fashioned (or as old- fashioned as you can be at my age) I guess, I prefer shopping in-store than online. That said, there's few things worse that you can subject me to — think along the lines of Monday morning staff meetings and episodes of the Real Housewives series — than standing in a never-ending, not moving checkout line. So, you can see my dilemma.
Well, now there's a solution to my problem. Combining the best features of online shopping with the in-store experience, mobile shopping platform provider AisleBuyer has launched the first-ever virtual assistant and mobile self-checkout system. Here's how it works: Any consumer who downloads the AisleBuyer app and enters a store powered by the vendor can scan product barcodes and complete purchases all on their smartphone — eliminating the need to stand in long lines.
AisleBuyer's app, available for download at the iTunes App store, provides PCI-compliant self-checkout, and also gives shoppers access to product information, reviews/recommendations and behaviorally targeted coupons previously only available to online shoppers.
AisleBuyer's app includes five modules:
* digital circular: sends timely, "location-based" store offers to consumers at no cost to deliver increased foot traffic;
* smart clerk: provides UPC scans of products to deliver product information, reviews and social shopping features;
* dynamic couponing: serves behaviorally targeted and timely "in-aisle" coupons to automatically cross-sell product categories and increase conversion;
* self-checkout: allows consumers to complete transactions via a patent-pending smartphone-based mobile self-checkout feature linked to preferred credit cards and retailer loyalty programs; and
* advanced analytics: provides retailers with business intelligence and real-time behavioral metrics previously only available to online merchants. This data is critical to providing personalized offers, making better merchandising decisions and identifying high-value shoppers.
Retailers Benefit, Too
AisleBuyer's solution affords retailers the opportunity to profit as well, helping to drive foot traffic through targeted, "location-aware" offers; reduce the number of abandoned carts through behaviorally targeted couponing; and reduce costs through better merchandising decisions, said Chuck Ball, executive vice president and head of marketing at AisleBuyer, in a company press release.
A complete analytics package is what sets AisleBuyer's solution apart from being merely a consumer-focused tool. AisleBuyer is able to capture how consumers interact with products from scan to checkout. In addition, the app compiles demographic and geographic analytics as well, which retailers can then base future mobile campaigns on.
One retailer taking advantage of this technology is Magic Beans, a cross-channel retailer of baby apparel, gear and toys.
"As a retailer that serves parents, we're always on the lookout for new services and features that make life easier for our busy customers," said Sheri Gurock, co-owner of Magic Beans, in AisleBuyer's press release. "This technology offers a more personalized shopping experience and allows us to provide our customers with the added convenience of self-checkout."
As one who isn't easily sold on very many things, I can honestly say that I find AisleBuyer's app a potentially very useful tool. I'm hesitant to give it a full-out endorsement for two reasons, however: one, a seemingly high susceptibility to fraud/theft and, two, how do you get your purchases bagged without waiting in line? But other than that, I can totally picture myself whipping through the mall this holiday shopping season bypassing checkout lines with goods in tow. Now I just have to get a smartphone (back to being old-fashioned).