In its second-largest acquisition, Amazon buys the company for $970 million.
Customers can make purchases without going to a cash register.
Consumers visiting an Alex and Ani LLC jewelry store will have fewer steps to take before leaving the store with their purchases. The retailer is using a mobile checkout system that enables sales associates to complete transactions with customers standing in aisles, avoiding checkout lines. Alex and Ani recently completed the launch of the service at all 24 of its stores, which are mostly in the Northeast.
Alex and Ani, No. 274 in the Internet Retailer Mobile 400, is using a mobile checkout system from Mobiquity Inc. that combines an iPod Touch with a cradle that enables payment card swiping, bar code scanning and receipt printing. Daily Systems LLC makes the cradles, called iAPS. Mobiquity handled the integration of the cradle and the specialized app used on the iPod Touch devices.
“It’s all about the customer experience,” says Joe Lezon, Alex and Ani chief technology officer. “It’s important for us to have one interaction.” A sales associate can use the mobile checkout service to accept a consumer’s payment card without making the customer join a checkout line. To complete a transaction the salesperson swipes the card through the card reader, and the customer composes her signature on the touchscreen with her finger. Receipts can be printed or sent via e-mail to the customer.
That expedites the checkout process, too, Lezon says. “This enables us to turn customers over quicker while maintaining and improving customer service,” he says. “We can have the best products and sales staff in the world, but if the checkout process is cumbersome that’s the last taste a customer will have of Alex and Ani.”
Lezon declined to share transaction data and the cost, but said the project took less than six months to complete.