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Apple's Retail Self-Checkout Doing Well, Strong Promotion Coming at Grand Central

CNBC reports on word from a source who claims that Apple has been very pleased with customer usage of the EasyPay self-checkout system for its retail stores. Under the system, customers can use the Apple Store app on their iPhones to scan shelf-stocked items in an Apple retail store and pay for them using their iTunes Store accounts. Customers can simply walk out of the store after the transaction is completed without needing to speak with any store employees.


The report does not offer any specifics on the program's performance, but vaguely suggests that it is at least meeting expectations.
Apple's self checkout revolution may have seemed a bit crazy, but it's apparently working out.

That's what I hear from a source familiar with Apple's retail operation.

...

The intelligence I'm getting is that the benefits of the new system are outweighing any negatives.
The report notes that Apple is also expected to heavily promote the self-checkout feature at its new Grand Central Terminal store set to open on Friday. With the open floor plan and throngs of commuters quickly passing through the store, the feature will likely be a popular one for store visitors.

While some have been skeptical of the usefulness of the self-checkout feature, many customers had expressed frustration at difficulties with getting the attention of store employees to complete simple transactions, and the new self-checkout avoids that situation entirely while freeing those staff members for more specialized consultation and training with other customers. Apple has reportedly noted that it envisions self-checkout and another system in which customers can pickup online orders in-store eventually being the primary ways in which customers make purchases from Apple retail stores.

Top Rated Comments

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35 months ago
Used it for my Power Support For my iPhone 4s, I almost got tackled by security!
Rating: 10 Votes
35 months ago
I bought a replacement set of headphones with Self-Checkout, and waltzed out the door feeling vaguely guilty.

I asked an Apple employee how they could tell I'd paid for it, and he said they couldn't.

They're not stupid, so I'm sure they've calculated the risk to several decimal points. I'm not sure I like it, though.
Rating: 9 Votes
35 months ago
Seriously, how do they prevent theft?
Rating: 7 Votes
35 months ago

Seriously, how do they prevent theft?


I'd like to know too. I spent a lot of time in retail in NYC and one thing I learned...there's a small but significant number of people who love to steal anything that isn't nailed down.
Rating: 7 Votes
35 months ago
Self checkout. Sounds like a thief could just walk in with an iPhone and pretend to go through the motions and then walk out with product. Unless Apple has some way of really keeping track of this.
Rating: 6 Votes
35 months ago
How does Apple prevent theft? Statistics.

1 - Most people are honest and won't blatantly steal.
2 - For those who aren't honest, most are hesitant to steal.
3 - Of those, a broad portion don't have the balls to risk getting caught.

Now, prevention:
1 - Add roaming and random staff checks of customers leaving with merchandise. This catches thieves but also discourages people in point 2 and 3.
2 - Existing employees are still in the store and will interact with customers and help them pay for their merchandise.

Who's left? The suspicious guy in the corner who doesn't want to talk to staff when approached. Ask him for his receipt on the way out.

Now we're down to the very few who are probably already shoplifters and will steal regardless of whether a system like this is in place or not. All you've got now are experienced shoplifters. They would otherwise hide the item and leave. What's changed is that they can do it out in the open where they're more likely to get caught. We might get less shoplifting, not more or at least catch more of those shoplifters who would steal in hiding anyway.

Self checkout is for lower priced items so even if Apple has a 0.5% theft (1 in every 200 items in the store) which is extremely high, they would still save money on human resources and improve the experience for customers.
Rating: 6 Votes
35 months ago

I bought a replacement set of headphones with Self-Checkout, and waltzed out the door feeling vaguely guilty.

I asked an Apple employee how they could tell I'd paid for it, and he said they couldn't.

They're not stupid, so I'm sure they've calculated the risk to several decimal points. I'm not sure I like it, though.


very interesting that they admitted that they cannot tell if you paid for it.
Rating: 6 Votes
35 months ago

Used it for my Power Support For my iPhone 4s, I almost got tackled by security!


Seriously? What happened exactly?
Rating: 6 Votes
35 months ago

I want some confirmation when I buy something in a store. Is there a way they email you a receipt kind of like how the app store / iTunes is? How do they confirm you paid for it if you return for support? I like the idea because I went to buy a case for my wife and waited around forever before someone got to me but i also want to have confirmation its mine.


Sure - the receipt is emailed as usual. And it's available for viewing in the Apple Store app.
Rating: 5 Votes
35 months ago

Used it for my Power Support For my iPhone 4s, I almost got tackled by security!


Self checkout. Sounds like a thief could just walk in with an iPhone and pretend to go through the motions and then walk out with product. Unless Apple has some way of really keep track of this.


Yeah it's honestly weird. I was at the store in the US the other day picking up a case for a MBA, and the apple employee told me to use my iPhone. Didn't work as my apple ID is not an american one. But they used their iPod touch to do the transaction. No receipt or bag though, and I walked through half the store with the case in hand and no proof that I paid for it. I walked out looking as if I could have just grabbed it off the shelf.
Rating: 4 Votes

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