EasyPay a "big success" at Apple retail stores

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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 weren?t 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 customer?s e-mail address for the receipt? one typo and the e-mail would bounce."



"Perhaps the most serious glitch was procedural?using 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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 49
    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?
  • Reply 2 of 49
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 49
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 49
    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...
  • Reply 5 of 49
    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!
  • Reply 6 of 49
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,530member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 49
    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
  • Reply 8 of 49
    erk
  • Reply 9 of 49
    rageousrageous Posts: 2,170member
    Posted too soon I take it?



    Read first, flame second young padawan.
  • Reply 10 of 49
    I think it´s kinda funny to see Apple employees working on Windoze PDAs.



    Yet another reason to develop an Apple-PDA :3
  • Reply 11 of 49
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Denmaru

    Apple employees working on Windoze PDAs.



    How do you know they run Windows?
  • Reply 12 of 49
    telomartelomar Posts: 1,804member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 49
    telomartelomar Posts: 1,804member
    Bah!
  • Reply 14 of 49
    telomartelomar Posts: 1,804member
    Posting doesn't like me today
  • Reply 15 of 49
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Gene Clean

    How do you know they run Windows?



    Do not know how he knew, but it's written at their site

    Operating PlatformtMicrosoft® Windows® CE .NET 4.1
  • Reply 16 of 49
    flounderflounder Posts: 2,674member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 49
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,530member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 49
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 49
    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
  • Reply 20 of 49
    louzerlouzer Posts: 1,054member
    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.
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