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Checkout Lines Becoming a Dinosaur

1 Aug, 2012 By: Doug McPherson

SEATTLE and PLANO, Texas – Lines. They’ve been irritating shoppers since, well, since they began.

Now retailers are tossing out their old cash registers and replacing them with mobile checkouts. Big names are behind the slaughter of millions of cash registers: Nordstrom, J.C. Penney and Apple among them. And insiders say a rush of others will follow.

And it’s happening relatively fast. In fact, this summer salespeople in Penney’s new Levi’s shops started using only iPads to check out customers. All of Penney’s 1,100 stores will offer mobile checkout by the end of the year, spokeswoman Kate Coultas told USA Today. Their salespeople will use iPod Touch devices to check out customers, or shoppers will use self-checkout lanes like in grocery stores.

Nordstrom reports that more than 6,000 of its employees are already using mobile devices at check out. By the end of this year, Nordstrom salespeople will be able to do everything on their handheld devices that they can at a register, Jamie Nordstrom, president of the company’s online division and great-grandson of the company’s founder, told the newspaper.

“I believe the future of our point-of-sale systems is completely mobile,” he says. “It’s hard to know whether it’s in one year or five years because the technology is evolving so rapidly.”

Shoppers will still be able to get cash because Nordstrom salespeople will be able to make change, but not with the “cash registers of yesterday,” Nordstrom says. “As long as there is cash, we’ll always be happy to accept cash.”

Several grocery stores, Costco and Sam’s Club included, have already armed their employees with mobile devices. Workers scan products for customers standing in lines and print a bar code that they can take to cashiers to pay.

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