With an app called Skip – as in “skip the line” – shoppers will be able to scan items as they shop, placing them in their bag as they go. They can enter their payment information (like a credit card number) into the app and pay for their items before they leave, all on their phone.

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Skip could eventually enable stores to do away with its traditional checkstands, which cost about $15,000 each (Self-checkout stands cost between $20,000 and $25,000).

What’s more, the app, which was built on Microsoft’s Azure platform, tracks customer purchases using their shopper profile and offers them personalized, targeted reminders and coupons.

Skip, Microsoft and Gerrity’s are hoping the technology eliminates the annoyance of waiting in line at the checkstand without eliminating the human customer service element.

But the technology does pose some risks: experts expect to lose more merchandise to theft than he would with a traditional checkout stand. However, it still beats self-checkout stands, which are big targets for those looking to steal.

To protect against theft, workers will audit shoppers’ bags before they leave the store by scanning a small portion of the customers’ items. The retailer then rates the shopper. If the retailer finds the customer stole any merchandise, it can give them a low rating, flagging them for more attention next time they shop.

My 2 cents:

From the creators of KUKA: The IoT Jeep Wrangler Factory comes the Azure-powered Skip, a solution for the greatest operational bottleneck in retail operations, and the greatest customer pain point. Retail is an amazing playing ground for technological innovation, that’s certain, but my skepticism with self-checkouts emerges again, and intensifies. It sounds like an awesome idea to be tested in California and the Pacific Northwest, but security risks might need a tech solution of its own before Skip can go global.

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