Apparently, rumors are abound that Apple may be planning to launch an update to its retail store iOS app that will allow consumers to utilize self-checkout for purchases of accessories and other shelf-stocked items at the company’s retail stores. I believe that with this move, Apple is taking the first step to disrupting the POS, starting with its own stores. This may be Apple’s first volley in to the emerging payments space, at the same time drawing a clear distinction between itself and other stakeholders who has invested in mobile commerce.
Apple understands that centering any payment initiative merely around the checkout is missing the point. To have a winning value proposition for its customers to even consider it, it has to remove existing blocks and streamline the buying experience and that includes if necessary, eliminating the point-of-sale altogether. Which is what it will accomplish by this.
More over, Apple understands that it can provide a better customer experience and garner more profits by leveraging cross and up-sell opportunities if its store representatives were engaging customers instead of being stuck behind a POS. Apple store customers who just need a quick accessory purchase can now pick out their item, pay for it themselves and walk out, all with out having to stalk any available store represenatives. More over, Apple’s margins on these accessories may be quite thin that it makes sense for them to invest their store resources to selling Apple products that has considerably higher margins. Makes a lot of sense.
I wrote an article calling why Google Wallet is a missed opportunity because Google forgot what it once was – a true disruptive innovator. And it seems that Apple is assuming the position that Google has vacated, and once again proves that it can indeed – Think Different. Kudos!
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