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EasyPay a "big success" at Apple retail stores

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
After running a pilot program at its retail stores this past holiday shopping season, Apple Computer has deemed its EasyPay checkout systems a "big success" and plans to further integrate the devices into its retail experience, according to an online report.

The iPod maker began deploying the wireless, paperless credit card scanners at its retail stores earlier this year as part of its iPod Express checkout experience. Apple Geniuses equipped with an EasyPay system can process purchases from customers anywhere on the showroom floor -- effectively bringing the checkout counter to the customer rather than the other way around.

EasyPay is a paperless process, where customers provide a credit card and an email address to an Apple store Genius or employee when checking out. The customer's card is swiped through a scanner -- attached to a Symbol Technologies PPT8800 wireless handheld device (photo) -- and an email receipt is dispatched and delivered "within an hour."

Despite an assortment of glitches, EasyPay has worked well for Apple says BuisnessWeek's Peter Burrows, who in a blog posting this week cited an unnamed "source at Apple" who says the company will continue to use the systems in the new year.

"Steve Jobs believes that many people who are comfortable buying on-line -- and that's a rapidly growing percentage of the total -- will not only accept but will actually prefer getting their receipts electronically," Burrows wrote. "Also, the wireless, paperless checkout gives Apple an opportunity to improve in-store service, as well."

Still, the EasyPay systems are far from perfect and are in need of some tweaks, according to a detailed report recently published at the ifoAppleStore Web site.

"The Symbol portable computers proved to be glitchy, although lots of customers werent paying with credit cards. Swiping credit or ATM cards sometimes often took several attempts, and re-booting the devices was not uncommon, further slowing the check-out process," wrote Gary Allen, the Web site's publisher. "Staffers also had to take care when entering the customers e-mail address for the receipt one typo and the e-mail would bounce."

"Perhaps the most serious glitch was proceduralusing e-mail to generate a receipt for the ordinary customer when checking them out with a portable device," Allen added. In some cases, customers were reluctant to give out their e-mail addresses or their Internet Service Providers were blocking email from Apple so no receipt could be delivered.

Apple currently operates 135 retail locations worldwide, including international locations in the U.K., Canada and Japan.
post #2 of 50
These are wireless card readers, I take it (no, I did not read the link to the article). Is there a risk that a skilled hacker could crack their network and collect card data?

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post #3 of 50
Quote:
...effectively bringing the checkout counter to the customer rather than the other way around...

I think this basically says it all about the way Apple thinks. This is why the iPod is a success. And the Mac would be as well if it weren't for corporate I.T. types shaving pennies off budgets for performance bonuses based on hardware acquisitions as opposed to what's best for the whole.
post #4 of 50
Assuming they work out the bugs, this sounds like a good idea--EXCEPT that the handheld units should also include small receipt printers *in addition to* the email receipt.

Otherwise, what happens if a spam filter (either server-side or client-side) kills the receipt? The customer goes home and viola, they have no proof of purchase less than an hour after they bought the merchandise. (Yes, they could also lose a paper receipt on the way home, but in this case, the fault is with the store, not the customer).

This is the same sort of problem we've started to see with the touch-screen voting machines that don't include paper trails/copies/backups. Reducing paperwork is an admirable goal, but you should ALWAYS have A hard copy backup of these sorts of things.
post #5 of 50
Quote:
Originally posted by BlueDjinn
Assuming they work out the bugs, this sounds like a good idea--EXCEPT that the handheld units should also include small receipt printers *in addition to* the email receipt.

Otherwise, what happens if a spam filter (either server-side or client-side) kills the receipt? The customer goes home and viola, they have no proof of purchase less than an hour after they bought the merchandise. (Yes, they could also lose a paper receipt on the way home, but in this case, the fault is with the store, not the customer).

This is the same sort of problem we've started to see with the touch-screen voting machines that don't include paper trails/copies/backups. Reducing paperwork is an admirable goal, but you should ALWAYS have A hard copy backup of these sorts of things.

I could imagine a highly resourceful (and ballsy) con artist going into the store, posing as an employee, and swiping the credit cards of the unsuspecting...

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post #6 of 50
This has to be the greatest part of shopping at the Apple Store.

Two weeks before Christmas I ran into the Apple Store here in Chicago on Michigan Avenue to pick up a new iPod and the line at the registers was friggin' insanely long. But then a couple employees walked up to all of us and were like, "Anyone paying with a credit card?" They didn't even ask if we were waiting in line for iPods, haha. I asked if they could do EduDiscounts at the EasyPay "zone" and they could so I was sold!

I was out the door with my new iPod in less than a minute. I didn't even have to give them my e-mail address because they already had it on file. Long live EasyPay!
post #7 of 50
Quote:
Originally posted by SpamSandwich
I could imagine a highly resourceful (and ballsy) con artist going into the store, posing as an employee, and swiping the credit cards of the unsuspecting...

I don't think that would work.

But the system does have to be secure against hacking. I would imagine that the security is much better than that found on the typical wireless router.
post #8 of 50
I second the idea of the print-out too. You would have a problem if something went wrong and you didn't have a receipt. You couldn't return the product. They could have business cards where the sales guy writes or prints a code that you go to the website for a receipt this way there won;t be problems.

I would prefer the print-out but, if apple had the case i wanted in stock, i would have used the checkout. Well, maybe when they get them and i go back i can use the EasyPay
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post #9 of 50
erk
post #10 of 50
Posted too soon I take it?

Read first, flame second young padawan.
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post #11 of 50
I think it´s kinda funny to see Apple employees working on Windoze PDAs.

Yet another reason to develop an Apple-PDA :3
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post #12 of 50
Quote:
Originally posted by Denmaru
Apple employees working on Windoze PDAs.

How do you know they run Windows?
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post #13 of 50
Quote:
Originally posted by BlueDjinn
Assuming they work out the bugs, this sounds like a good idea--EXCEPT that the handheld units should also include small receipt printers *in addition to* the email receipt.

Otherwise, what happens if a spam filter (either server-side or client-side) kills the receipt? The customer goes home and viola, they have no proof of purchase less than an hour after they bought the merchandise. (Yes, they could also lose a paper receipt on the way home, but in this case, the fault is with the store, not the customer).

This is the same sort of problem we've started to see with the touch-screen voting machines that don't include paper trails/copies/backups. Reducing paperwork is an admirable goal, but you should ALWAYS have A hard copy backup of these sorts of things.

You also have your credit card statement and I'd expect Apple retains records just in case so you could arrange to have it resent. Paper ends up lost a lot easier that electronic receipts.
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post #14 of 50
Bah!
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post #15 of 50
Posting doesn't like me today
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post #16 of 50
Quote:
Originally posted by Gene Clean
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Operating PlatformtMicrosoft® Windows® CE .NET 4.1
post #17 of 50
Quote:
Originally posted by Jwink3101
I second the idea of the print-out too. You would have a problem if something went wrong and you didn't have a receipt. You couldn't return the product. They could have business cards where the sales guy writes or prints a code that you go to the website for a receipt this way there won;t be problems.

I would prefer the print-out but, if apple had the case i wanted in stock, i would have used the checkout. Well, maybe when they get them and i go back i can use the EasyPay

A lot of places (and I imagine apple is one of them) don't require a receipt for a return. All you need is the credit card you made the purchase with.
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post #18 of 50
Sure, what about online purchases? While you might get a receipt, you might not. You can print something out, or not. But as Telomar says, you do have your credit card reference.
post #19 of 50
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
Sure, what about online purchases? While you might get a receipt, you might not. You can print something out, or not. But as Telomar says, you do have your credit card reference.

Agreed, but for online purchases, you can also print (or save to PDF) the actual webpage receipt as well. With an online purchase, the lack of a tangible hard copy receipt is an understood part of the process--that's one of the chances the customer takes in choosing to make a purchase through a website. It's inherently understood that there's a slim chance that something will go awry during the process, though it's also understood that the merchant should make every reasonable effort to ensure that the receipt is recorded, stored, and sent to the customer.

In a physical shopping experience, since the merchant *can* provide a physical copy of the receipt at negligible cost & effort, they *should* do so. If the customer chooses not to take the receipt, or loses it, that's their issue, but the merchant should take all reasonable efforts to provide a tangible receipt.

As I said, if they want to send an email copy AS WELL AS the paper copy, that's a nice touch, but it shouldn't be *in place of* one.
post #20 of 50
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
Sure, what about online purchases? While you might get a receipt, you might not. You can print something out, or not. But as Telomar says, you do have your credit card reference.

Plus, when the package comes, it has a receipt or invoice of some kind
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post #21 of 50
Quote:
Originally posted by BlueDjinn
Agreed, but for online purchases, you can also print (or save to PDF) the actual webpage receipt as well.

That's not completely true. Amazon, for example, doesn't take you to a page of your final order, after its processed, with an order number or the like.
post #22 of 50
The best part is when the store employee clicks the start menu, to activate the transaction. I hear Steve Balmer laughing everytime..

Windows Mobile, in the Apple store :-)
post #23 of 50
Quote:
Originally posted by webmail
The best part is when the store employee clicks the start menu, to activate the transaction. I hear Steve Balmer laughing everytime..

Windows Mobile, in the Apple store :-)

That breaks my heart, and is a complete surprise! I never would've guessed they would use a Windows-based device.
post #24 of 50
Quote:
Originally posted by BlueDjinn
Agreed, but for online purchases, you can also print (or save to PDF) the actual webpage receipt as well. With an online purchase, the lack of a tangible hard copy receipt is an understood part of the process--that's one of the chances the customer takes in choosing to make a purchase through a website. It's inherently understood that there's a slim chance that something will go awry during the process, though it's also understood that the merchant should make every reasonable effort to ensure that the receipt is recorded, stored, and sent to the customer.

In a physical shopping experience, since the merchant *can* provide a physical copy of the receipt at negligible cost & effort, they *should* do so. If the customer chooses not to take the receipt, or loses it, that's their issue, but the merchant should take all reasonable efforts to provide a tangible receipt.

As I said, if they want to send an email copy AS WELL AS the paper copy, that's a nice touch, but it shouldn't be *in place of* one.

I don't consider it to be a problem. Many times over the decades we have had to learn different ways of purchasing.

When Sears and Montgomery Ward began to send catalogs out, it was said that people would never buy from a catalog, from a company hundreds of thousands of miles away. But they were wrong. The same thing was said about ordering by phone. The same thing was said about credit cards. The same thing was said about buying over the internet.

It's a matter of educating your customer that they are getting more than they are giving up. It's always been convenience over whatever they were doing before.

Apple thinks this was a success. If people find it to be more convenient than waiting on a line. Then it will be ok, if not, then it won't.

I can tell you one thing, however, if this is successful for Apple it will spread throughout the retail industry like wildfire.

You can bet your bippy that the industry is watching this like a hawk!
post #25 of 50
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
... it was said that people would never buy from a catalog, from a company hundreds of thousands of miles away. But they were wrong...

I'm willing to bet they were right about this one. Unless Sears set up shop on the moon
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post #26 of 50
Quote:
Originally posted by rageous
I'm willing to bet they were right about this one. Unless Sears set up shop on the moon

Let's see. California is about 2 thousand miles from Chicago and about 3 thousand miles away from New York.

Is that "thousands of miles" for you?
post #27 of 50
it's not hundreds of thousands, no.
Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen. - Albert Einstein

I wish developing great products was as easy as writing a check. If that were the case, then Microsoft would...
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Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen. - Albert Einstein

I wish developing great products was as easy as writing a check. If that were the case, then Microsoft would...
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post #28 of 50
Quote:
Originally posted by rageous
it's not hundreds of thousands, no.



Sorry!

But it was obviously a typo.
post #29 of 50
Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen. - Albert Einstein

I wish developing great products was as easy as writing a check. If that were the case, then Microsoft would...
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Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen. - Albert Einstein

I wish developing great products was as easy as writing a check. If that were the case, then Microsoft would...
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post #30 of 50
Quote:
Originally posted by rageous
Posted too soon I take it?

Read first, flame second young padawan.

I am assuming you are refering to my erk ed posting 2 minutes previous to your post. If you expect a flame, here is one:

Why would you report on Apple's continuation of a customer service when you should have been reporting on it when it first started. This should not be recognized as news especially since there was a thread about it here on this very site... over 6 weeks ago.

As far as my age goes, I wish I was a youngling. I have been using Macs for 4 months + 2 decades. Had 2 of the original Macintoshes in my high school computer class. Yup, going on 21 years now.

Sorry if this post hits you wrong but yours had hit ME wrong. I'll get over it though, don't worry.
post #31 of 50
Quote:
Originally posted by rageous

You should have gone by your motto when you read it.
post #32 of 50
One question: doesn't this make it easier to steal from an Apple store. You just need to pretend you bought your iPod with one of the express genius' and your out with a free iPod. Maybe a paper receipt would be good for security.
post #33 of 50
Quote:
Originally posted by MacCrazy
One question: doesn't this make it easier to steal from an Apple store. You just need to pretend you bought your iPod with one of the express genius' and your out with a free iPod. Maybe a paper receipt would be good for security.

I think they get you a bag though so that is not a problem
-Justin Winokur

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post #34 of 50
Quote:
Originally posted by rongold
I am assuming you are refering to my erk ed posting 2 minutes previous to your post. If you expect a flame, here is one:

Why would you report on Apple's continuation of a customer service when you should have been reporting on it when it first started. This should not be recognized as news especially since there was a thread about it here on this very site... over 6 weeks ago.

As far as my age goes, I wish I was a youngling. I have been using Macs for 4 months + 2 decades. Had 2 of the original Macintoshes in my high school computer class. Yup, going on 21 years now.

Sorry if this post hits you wrong but yours had hit ME wrong. I'll get over it though, don't worry.



Good lord.
Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen. - Albert Einstein

I wish developing great products was as easy as writing a check. If that were the case, then Microsoft would...
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post #35 of 50
Quote:
Originally posted by NeedAnewMac
Do not know how he knew, but it's written at their site
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post #36 of 50
This past summer my wife and I spent two weeks in England. At every restaurant, we paid the bill using a remote credit card reader that wirelessly sent our billing information from our table to the vendor, and then printed two receipts, one of which we signed after adding the tip. The wait person then sent that information to the vendor. All very clean, simple, and encrypted. The US is far behind the UK on this one, but I'm glad that Apple is in the forefront of catching us up.
post #37 of 50
Quote:
Originally posted by krt186
This past summer my wife and I spent two weeks in England. At every restaurant, we paid the bill using a remote credit card reader that wirelessly sent our billing information from our table to the vendor, and then printed two receipts, one of which we signed after adding the tip. The wait person then sent that information to the vendor. All very clean, simple, and encrypted. The US is far behind the UK on this one, but I'm glad that Apple is in the forefront of catching us up.

I had the same experience on my honeymoon in Paris back in '98. They brought a reader/printer to my table and I paid right there. The only new thing in Apple's implementation is they aren't printing a receipt on the spot.
post #38 of 50
For those wanting hard copies, Apple should simply add a page on their website (a secure page of course) where one can enter the serial number of an iPod bought via EasyPay and the zip code, and obtain a receipt (either one that comes up on screen to be printed locally, or one that Apple will snail mail to the customer).
post #39 of 50
or they could have a printer on the wireless device!
post #40 of 50
The remote gizmo used by the wait staff that we experienced in the UK this past summer was about 5x8", with a coiled roll of bi-level paper at one end. When our dinner cost was entered and card was scanned, it connected with VISA and then printed the receipts right on the spot. Very convenient for collecting receipts on the spot, which I would prefer rather than waiting to sign onto (eg) Apple to download the hard copy receipt later on. Aside from being wireless, it's completely identical to shopping at the grocery store or dry cleaners.
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