Self-checkout at brick-and-mortar stores has been a thing for quite a while. But it has required that customers download an app or use the store’s kiosks.
This week, Boston-based e-commerce provider Moltin is launching with clothing retailer Stance what the companies said is the first instance of a retailer offering a self-checkout solution that is entirely web-based.
In this case, CEO Jamus Driscoll told me, a progressive web app on the Stance site utilizes Moltin’s commerce platform, which communicates with Stance’s inventory management, existing payment processing and other backend platforms.
To check out, a customer uses her smartphone to visit the retailer’s website — in this case, go.stance.com — and approves the site’s request to use the phone’s camera. Once approved, the site then asks the user to point the camera at the product’s bar code and click for a purchase, which is paid by the customer’s Apple Pay, Google Pay or credit card account.
On the way out the door, the customer displays her phone with the online receipt, which contains the item purchased, a time stamp and a revolving color bar to indicate that the receipt is not a screen grab.
Customers who self-checkout are asked to use a white shopping bag instead of the regular black one, so they can be more easily spotted on their way out. The Stance “greeter” looks into the bag to make sure the items match the smartphone’s receipt.
Since this solution sounds fairly straightforward, I asked Driscoll why no one had implemented this before.
He replied that most retail commerce platforms are designed for in-store counter sales or e-commerce, while Moltin’s is designed for customer self-checkout, in this case through the use of a progressive web app that helps make the process app-like.
Stance still offers checkout counters at its three US stores where this solution is being implemented. Six additional existing stores and all new ones will employ the Moltin approach by year’s end. Driscoll said there were no stats yet about the popularity or effectiveness of this kind of self-checkout.