August 19, 2010, 5:17 PM

A new service lets store shoppers check out with their iPhones

Retailers can use the AisleBuyer technology to analyze consumer behavior.

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AisleBuyer LLC, a mobile checkout technology vendor, has launched a service that enables consumers to use an iPhone app to scan products and buy merchandise inside stores without spending time in long checkout lines. The vendor says one retailer has started using the service—Magic Beans, a Boston company that sells baby gear, toys and other children’s goods.

Consumers download the app for free from Apple Inc.’s iTunes app store. A shopper then uses her iPhone to scan bar codes from products on shelves, and the app displays product information, reviews and offers that can include upsells or cross-sells. A green tab below the product information enables the shopper to add the product to her virtual cart. The shopper also takes the item physically off the shelf.

“This technology offers a more personalized shopping experience and allows us to provide our customers with the added convenience of self-checkout,” says Sheri Gurock, co-owner of Magic Beans.

Shoppers can store payment information on the app and use it to pay. After pressing a button to confirm the purchase, the shopper receives a digital receipt with a confirmation code. “This same code is reflected instantly on the store's point-of-sale monitor,” says Chuck Ball, AisleBuyer’s head of marketing. “The customer is instructed to simply show this code to a store clerk, who will then quickly check it off as verified.”

The AisleBuyer platform, which uses GPS technology to make sure a shopper is in a specific store also tells retailers other details about shopper behavior. “We currently capture every action the consumer takes while in the store, from scan to checkout,” Ball says. “This results in retailers knowing how long consumers are in the store, what their path is through the store, how much that customer spends and what types of offers they respond to.”

 He says AisleBuyer can offer about 24 types of analytical reports to retailers.

AisleBuyer makes its money solely off the payment processing. Ball says the company charges about the same as PayPal, though he declined to provide details. Merchants pay an average of 3.65% on PayPal transactions, according to payments consultant Steve Mott of BetterBuyDesign. Integrating the AisleBuyer platform into the retailer’s point-of-sale system—which takes from six to eight weeks—typically costs the merchant nothing, but adding custom features would cost retailers what Ball describes as a nominal fee.

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