Today’s shoppers expect the entire shopping experience to be fun. They want to be inspired, find what they want and the size they need, and get help when they need it. And they do not want to wait for anything. A typical retail challenge is the payment step, which can easily negatively influence the overall shopping experience because customers’ patience for the checkout line in retail stores is lessening.
As this is widely recognized, many retailers are optimizing their point-of-sale (POS) processes to prevent checkout lines. New payment apps that turn mobile devices into mobile POS (mPOS) look like the holy grail, but how can retailers make sure their shrinkage levels do not explode? In the past, retailers had to choose between security and customers’ convenience. However, RFID technology offers new possibilities to solve this conflict.
Many retailers are already deploying or experimenting with mPOS solutions to provide more flexibility and quicker processing for their customers. One of the most well-known examples, of course, is in Apple stores where customers no longer have to wait in line to pay for items. They can be directly served by any employee equipped with an iPad and then leave the store immediately after payment.
RFID Enables Secured Mobile Checkouts
The electronic product code (EPC) and RFID introduced a way to enable retailers to combine convenience and security by combining mPOS solutions with RFID-based loss prevention systems. The EPC, which identifies a unique product a layer deeper than EAN or UPC barcodes, is used as a common identifier. This EPC code provides either the EAN or UPC code for product identification, as well as a unique serial number that defines the specific product. The required EPC code can easily be printed as a GS1 DataMatrix barcode (similar to a QR code) on an RFID label.
How It Works
1. The retailer adds RFID labels equipped with GS1 DataMatrix barcodes to their products.
2. A store employee scans the GS1 DataMatrix code with a mobile payment app on a mobile device.
3. The customer pays for the item, and once the transaction is completed, the EPC code is sent to a database, marking the specific item as “sold.”
4. When the customer leaves the store, an RFID reader identifies the EPC code. The status of the EPC is retrieved from the database, and if the item was marked as sold, no alarm will sound. However, if the item was not sold, then an alarm will be activated.