Cashierless checkout has for the most part been limited to major grocers thus far and is perhaps most commonly associated with Amazon Go, but one retailer — best known for selling socks — is showing that this technology can be deployed just as effectively in an apparel setting. Stance has deployed self-checkout technology from Moltin within its 14 U.S. stores, designed to let shoppers skip lines and check out via a browser-based mobile progressive web app (PWA).
The goal for the technology was singular: eliminating lines, according to Paul Zaengle, EVP of Direct-to-Consumer at Stance. While Zaengle had followed self-checkout technologies for years, he said it wasn’t until 2018, when Apple allowed iOS to access cameras through a web page, that the Stance team was able to envision a realistic application.
“Instantly, it opened the door that we were looking for, which is that we didn’t have to ask our customers to download an app to check out on their own phones,” Zaengle said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We never wanted to install kiosks or devices, because you can go into a Target or Home Depot and often those have lines behind them. Those don’t often scale and can be expensive. Since we’re a small retailer, we were looking for an efficient solution that didn’t require extra equipment or an app download. It’s accessible to everyone.”
While the pilot location, a Stance store that sells exclusively to employees at the company headquarters in San Clemente, Calif., went live in approximately seven weeks, the remaining stores took only two weeks each to deploy the technology.
Accessing the PWA instead of downloading and using a mobile app expedites the checkout process. Upon entering the store, the customer can scan a QR code or navigate to a short URL from their phone; scan the barcodes on product tags; then complete the checkout using Apple Pay, Google Pay or a credit card. On the backend, Moltin powers the self-checkout solutions with APIs that submit product information to the application, create the cart, add products and process the checkout.
Each store has signage to drive awareness of the technology with phrases like “skip the line” and “try our self-checkout.” White bags are placed right under each sign, signaling to the store associates that the shopper will use self-checkout when they’re done shopping.
Since Moltin’s API backend allows the solution to integrate with Stance’s existing infrastructure, including its POS system and Stripe payments stack, the retailer can capture consumer data to help understand shopping habits in-store.
“It’s basically like a lightweight e-Commerce checkout so it has traffic, conversions, AOV and other metrics like that,” Zaengle said. “In terms of qualitative feedback, we do that with our store teams just like we would capture product feedback. They keep a running list of enhancements to products, and they keep a list of enhancements to everything else about the store. We’re learning to be a retail company.”
Moltin hosted an “open house” launch event on March 27 at the Stance Soho store to showcase live demos of the In-Store Self Checkout solution.