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Launch of Apple's EasyPay retail self-checkout deemed a success

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
Apple's newly launched retail self-checkout program, which allows customers to pay for an in-store transaction on their phone without speaking to a store employee, has reportedly gotten off to a successful start.

Though the self-checkout option has "seemed a bit crazy" to some, the system is "working out," a person familiar with Apple's retail operations reportedly told John Fortt of CNBC. The person said that the benefits of the new system have, so far, outweighted the negatives.

"This new setup could be particularly useful in a store like the one Apple's opening in Grand Central station on Friday," he said. "(I hear self checkout will be prominently touted there, which is no big surprise.) And the early success of this self checkout initiative bodes well for Apple's holiday sales.

The apparent comments from someone involved in Apple's retail operations are an indication that the self-checkout option has not created confusion or encouraged theft in the company's stores, as some had initially feared when the program was launched. Those concerns led some to jokingly refer to the program, officially known as EasyPay, as "EasyTheft."

The EasyPay launched in November with the release of version 2.0 of the Apple Store application for iOS devices. With EasyPay, an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S user can scan the barcode of an accessory while in store, and complete the transaction using the same credit card information tied to their Apple ID.



The option applies only to accessories and items found on the shelf, which are some of the less expensive products offered at Apple's stores. Higher value items like iPhones, iPads, iPods and Macs are kept in Apple's retail stockrooms, and users cannot complete a self-checkout to purchase those items.
post #2 of 47
Has anyone used self-checkout, how does it work? I read some of the descriptions but it's not fully clear.

Can I walk into a store, scan the product, buy it with my phone, then leave the store with the item, all on my own? It says you can purchase a product without speaking to an employee, but it also says it sends you an e-mail receipt so you can show an employee that you paid for the item, so which is it?
post #3 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by techguy911 View Post

Has anyone used self-checkout, how does it work? I read some of the descriptions but it's not fully clear.

Can I walk into a store, scan the product, buy it with my phone, then leave the store with the item, all on my own? It says you can purchase a product without speaking to an employee, but it also says it sends you an e-mail receipt so you can show an employee that you paid for the item, so which is it?

I haven't used it yet myself, but I believe its exactly as you state. You will be able to show the emailed receipt to a store employee if you happen to be stopped and questioned by one on the way out of the store...
post #4 of 47
Used it a few days back when buying a new apple remote (kids trashed the last one, don't ask). Worked like a charm and I walked right out without being harassed. Felt a little weird, but it was really nice seeing as how the store was very crowded that day.
post #5 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by SwingerJ View Post

Felt a little weird…

Okay. That's eight.

Take a good look, everyone. This is number eight. The eighth way that Apple has changed the world.

Computers, Music, Phones, Laptops, Tablets … the other two… and this:

PAYING. FOR. STUFF.

Apple has created a successful implementation of a technology that destroys to its foundation civilization's belief of how retail is done.

“The only thing more insecure than Android is its userbase.” – Can’t Remember

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post #6 of 47
I see great potential for success, so long as the majority of the world's population remains honest. I guess the question becomes, where is the tipping point?
post #7 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by mytdave View Post

I see great potential for success, so long as the majority of the world's population remains honest. I guess the question becomes, where is the tipping point?

The tipping point will be linked to RFID. If you had an RFID scanner in your phone and a tag on each item in the store, you could link your purchase to the RFID tag, which could be read by scanners around the door at the exit to the store, and if someone was taking something they had not paid for an alarm would sound, and if they had, it would leave them alone.
post #8 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by techguy911 View Post

Has anyone used self-checkout, how does it work? I read some of the descriptions but it's not fully clear.

Can I walk into a store, scan the product, buy it with my phone, then leave the store with the item, all on my own? It says you can purchase a product without speaking to an employee, but it also says it sends you an e-mail receipt so you can show an employee that you paid for the item, so which is it?

Yes, that's exactly how it works. Did it myself.

But I wonder how they prevent theft.
post #9 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Okay. That's eight.

Take a good look, everyone. This is number eight. The eighth way that Apple has changed the world.

Computers, Music, Phones, Laptops, Tablets the other two and this:

PAYING. FOR. STUFF.

Apple has created a successful implementation of a technology that destroys to its foundation civilization's belief of how retail is done.

Something almost identical to this was done by the supermarket chain Safeway in the UK 15 years ago. Basically you got a handheld barcode scanner when you went into the store, scanned items as you put them in the cart (you could actually buy some plastic boxes that went into the cart, so you put your goods straight into boxes that you could then put in your car), then when you were done shopping, you put the barcode scanner back into its receptacle and it charged you, then off you went.

Periodically it would tell you that you had to go and have your cart manually scanned in the normal way, and they would look at the delta between what you scanned yourself and what the manual scanning showed. If there was no (or little) difference, you would be sent for manual scanning less frequently, and if there was always a huge discrepancy, eventually you would be barred from using the system.

It worked pretty well, though never caught on.

What Apple are implementing is basically the same thing.
post #10 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elian Gonzalez View Post

Yes, that's exactly how it works. Did it myself.

But I wonder how they prevent theft.

Yes, but do you have to show an employee at the door an e-mail receipt or not?

I do self checkout at Home Depot, but you have to show them the receipt, and they do a cursory check before you walk out.
post #11 of 47
I picked up a mouse yesterday while my friend was waiting at the genius bar. I scanned the mouse with the phone, entered the CV2 code from the back of my credit card, and put the mouse in my pocket. I got the receipt via email. No one bothered me, or asked for a receipt, when I walked out the door 20 minutes later.

I am curious as to what methods they have in place to prevent widespread theft? Obviously once this becomes better known, some people will walk in, and walk out with a product. it's trivial to set up a web site that displays a real looking invoice, so the store can't solely be relying on you showing the receipt on your phone as you leave.

I assumed that the front door security has a list of each purchase on their iPad, and knows what should or should not be going through the door.

Anybody know for sure?

Does anyone know if you have to use the store's Wi-Fi in order for this to work? Will the App realize you're in the Apple store, even if you are using cellular data?
post #12 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by mfryd View Post

Does anyone know if you have to use the store's Wi-Fi in order for this to work? Will the App realize you're in the Apple store, even if you are using cellular data?

I was on the store WiFi when I bought mine. I am pretty sure that if there is a question, you can show the person at the front your receipt (shows up immediately in the app) and you will be on your way in a flash.

As for that safeway thing, we had that in my home town and it was MUCH more clunky than described. You still had to check out with a teller and most of the time they rescanned all of your items anyway (low income area) to "reduce theft". That is likely why it never caught on, it was a total pain and really did not speed your way throughout and get you out of the store faster. All it did was make your trip longer since you scan your own items and the teller does the same.
post #13 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

The tipping point will be linked to RFID. If you had an RFID scanner in your phone and a tag on each item in the store, you could link your purchase to the RFID tag, which could be read by scanners around the door at the exit to the store, and if someone was taking something they had not paid for an alarm would sound, and if they had, it would leave them alone.

Don't even need RFID scanner in the phone, just link the barcode to the RFID code, and you can do the same thing. They could even set up a window where a particular item in a particular store (without unique identification) will not trigger the alarms. No need to make the alarms audible either.

...who's to say they don't already have it in place...
post #14 of 47
So many points to discuss. here.

1) I've bought items in an Apple Store twice in the past two weeks and have been badgered me to use this service. They were even asking for my phone so they could install the Apple Store app. I was in a hurry, had my CC in hand, and just didn't want to bother.. yet they even asked again despite me informing them of my rush. One of those items was a $99 AirPort Express, not just a case or headphones and the like. The takeaway is that Apple is really pushing this hard.

2) I have to wonder about potential theft, or are Apple Stores so busy that any potential theft is far below the potential loss of sales by customers having to wait to long.

3) Psychologically it does feel weird. For that very reason I'm planning on buying the largest, most expensive item possible with this service, and do it the shadiest way possible to see if anyone will stop me. For all we know they have Las Vegas style cameras and computers monitoring employees and will mark a customer as green once the transaction has occurred. How: By wearing a hoodie, dark sunglasses, avoiding looking at the cameras, avoiding talking to the personal, and walking quickly to and from the door in the most suspicious way. Any other ideas, like what to buy?

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #15 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Another other ideas

Wear a trench coat in the summer when it is 100+ degrees. That'll get some attention.
post #16 of 47
I've already Winnona'd my local Apple Store out of a lot accessories already..
post #17 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Yes, but do you have to show an employee at the door an e-mail receipt or not?

I do self checkout at Home Depot, but you have to show them the receipt, and they do a cursory check before you walk out.

From my experience of buying items in the back of the store and then getting my reciept emailed to me there is no one who checks your receipt.

Could this really be the next step in retail, as Tallest Skil suggests, that could change the way it works or is this something that could only ever work for Apple?

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #18 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post

Don't even need RFID scanner in the phone, just link the barcode to the RFID code, and you can do the same thing. They could even set up a window where a particular item in a particular store (without unique identification) will not trigger the alarms. No need to make the alarms audible either.

...who's to say they don't already have it in place...

Very good point.
post #19 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by SwingerJ View Post

Wear a trench coat in the summer when it is 100+ degrees. That'll get some attention.

BY like a dozen of something fairly large, then pull out a giant black trash bag and roughly through the items in the bag before rushing out of the store.

PS: This could ruin it for everyone.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #20 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

What Apple are implementing is basically the same thing.

Except you already own the scanner, so it's not out of your way to use it, you don't deal with boxes, so you don't have to do that stuff, and you never have to have anything scanned by anyone else.

In, get what you want, out.

Apple has made legal the physical concept of stealing. It's GOING to catch on.

“The only thing more insecure than Android is its userbase.” – Can’t Remember

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post #21 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Okay. That's eight.

Take a good look, everyone. This is number eight. The eighth way that Apple has changed the world.

Computers, Music, Phones, Laptops, Tablets the other two and this:

PAYING. FOR. STUFF.

Apple has created a successful implementation of a technology that destroys to its foundation civilization's belief of how retail is done.

Also impressive is Zoom System's Best Buy Express (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZoomShops). I can buy an iPod Touch at 2am from an automated vending machine with the swipe of a card and a few clicks.

I can see the possibility in a few years to be able to find and purchase something on my iPhone and find a local automated pick up location 24/7.
post #22 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by SwingerJ View Post

Wear a trench coat in the summer when it is 100+ degrees. That'll get some attention.

Try this. Scan and pay for an item A, put it back on the shelf, then take a different item A and walk out of the store. If checked at the door you can show the receipt.
post #23 of 47
It is a very cool system, it just has two major flaws that keep me from using it:

1) I can't get my EPP Discount with the self checkout.

2) I also shop for work, I want to have two accounts, one personal and one business.

Edison Carter
Network 23
post #24 of 47
But he won't haggle!
post #25 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by techguy911 View Post

Also impressive is Zoom System's Best Buy Express (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZoomShops). I can buy an iPod Touch at 2am from an automated vending machine with the swipe of a card and a few clicks.

I can see the possibility in a few years to be able to find and purchase something on my iPhone and find a local automated pick up location 24/7.

While I like the idea of these kiosks, I got screwed over by one once: There were two different Sony headphones, very similar style, but different price. Needed new mic/headset for my phone, so figured I would give it a try. Picked out the one I wanted, started the transaction, looked back at the code, and entered the code for the other model (no mic). Realized it once I opened the package, so I just put it in a bag and dropped into a real Best Buy to swap it for what I needed.

...But, Best Buy isn't really affiliated with the kiosks. You can't return things.

I have to think Apple could find a great way to make these things work, even for high dollar items.
post #26 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by techguy911 View Post



Can I walk into a store, scan the product, buy it with my phone, then leave the store with the item, all on my own?



Likely it depends on various factors, like your socioeconomic class and skin color.
post #27 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

. How: By wearing a hoodie, dark sunglasses, avoiding looking at the cameras, avoiding talking to the personal, and walking quickly to and from the door in the most suspicious way. Any other ideas, like what to buy?

if you walk in like that you might not be stopped but you will be watched. And you are asking for it

And not just at Apple

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #28 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by trowelblister View Post

But he won't haggle!

Do a lot of haggling at the Apple Store, do you?

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post #29 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post


I have to think Apple could find a great way to make these things work, even for high dollar items.

nope. Too risky, too much added info needed like serials, apple care etc

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #30 of 47
I guess Apple is using Data Warehousing/Mining to identify patterns, analyse past "EasyPay" purchases and compare all purchases to inventory figures to identify stock "leakage".

I am sure Apple didn't launch this without knowing predicted possible theft and revenue loss. The model would take such figures into account and Apple figured out that % of revenue loss is ignorable and/or outweighs additional revenue generated plus reduced costs based on self-service.


Just my guess
post #31 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

Likely it depends on various factors, like your socioeconomic class and skin color.

What's yours?

Just so that we can make the proper judgments/decisions.......
post #32 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Any other ideas, like what to buy?


Something generic and easy to resell, like a dozen of the same expensive iPhone case.
post #33 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

Something generic and easy to resell, like a dozen of the same expensive iPhone case.

I was thinking of trying to buy 10 AEBS or TCs.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #34 of 47
I used it at the Apple Store to get an iPhone case, it really was simple.
post #35 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

What's yours?

Just so that we can make the proper judgments/decisions.......

If you think it might help you, I'm a middle class, middle aged white guy. Fairly average in most environments.

If a typical townie or bro were to try to pull a scam at one of the fancy mall stores or at one of the big stores in the fancy shopping district, my guess is that they would be questioned. Likewise, if someone who looks like a tourist were to buy a new laptop charger at the store near the hotel, my guess is that the most they would get is a smile and a nod.

Some people, unfortunately, will be questioned no matter what. IME, that is the way things generally work.
post #36 of 47
i went to my local apple store a week or so ago and purchased a new airport extreme. as i've been doing for some time now, i asked one of the (in this case) red-shirted employees to check me out (mind out of the gutter). and they did. normally they offer a bag or a blue "thank you" sticker and i just take the sticker. this time she offered me a bag and i said "no, i'll just take a sticker". she said i didn't need one. even that felt weird when i walked out the front door, so i imagine doing it all myself will feel even more odd.
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post #37 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elian Gonzalez View Post

Yes, that's exactly how it works. Did it myself.

But I wonder how they prevent theft.

The same way they prevented theft in the past without EasyPay. If you were planning on stealing, you could pick up te item and leave with it in the past even before EasyPay existed.

EasyPay does not change any of that. If theft becomes a problem, the simple solution would be exit scanners at the door. Maybe hae RFID chips which broadcast a unique item number on each item which can be read by the scanner, which looks into an online database to make sure it was paid for.
post #38 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I was thinking of trying to buy 10 AEBS or TCs.



That should work
post #39 of 47
Seems like this could make it easy to steal.

I wonder how they track who paid and who didn't :/

Even with RFID those are disabled when you scan and pay at the counter. Does the iPhone disable the RFID?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SwingerJ View Post

Used it a few days back when buying a new apple remote (kids trashed the last one, don't ask). Worked like a charm and I walked right out without being harassed. Felt a little weird, but it was really nice seeing as how the store was very crowded that day.
post #40 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

If you think it might help you,...

Note to self: remember to include [/sarcasm] the next time.
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