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Bass Pro Shops equips sales associates with iPod touches to reduce wait times

Bass Pro Shops is piloting the use of iPod touches in stores to reduce the amount of time customers spend waiting in line to make a purchase.

Bass Pro Shops is integrating a mobile point-of-sale solution from PCMS with its existing customer-facing technology. The first phase of the two-phase pilot program will enable customers’ purchases to be scanned while they are waiting in line, with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent in line.

The transaction is then suspended until the customer reaches the register to conclude payment.

Stage two will enable payments to be taken via the iPod Touch, reducing transaction times even further.

Bass Pro Shops, Springfield, MO, declined to comment because of competitive reasons. PCMS did not respond to a request for comment by the press deadline.

Mobile POS trend
The retailer joins a growing list of merchants who are using mobile devices in stores to enhance the customer shopping experience.

The goal, in many cases, is to eliminate the need to stand in line for customers who come in and are ready to pay. Instead, the store associates that have been helping customers can process their purchases.

Outdoor apparel and gear retailer Eastern Mountain Sports recently said it would roll out iPads in its stores following a successful pilot in four stores last year (see story).

Store associates equipped with the iPads are able to outfit shoppers from the full line of products that the retailer offers, including what is available in store as well as online. The retailer expects to be able to drive additional sales as a result.

Outdoor specialty retailer Moosejaw rolled out a mobile point-of-sale service at seven Midwest stores enabling it to speed up lines at registers by doing everything from an Apple iPod Touch device (see story).

Beauty products retailer Sephora has implemented software from Agilysys and RedIron to turn iPod touches into mobile point-of-sale devices across a number of its stores (see story).

Sephora – in one store – and Apple are the only retailers that have completely replaced traditional POS with a mobile system. In the other examples, the mobile devices are there to complement the existing POS.

Bass Pro Shops sells outdoor recreational products in its 58 retail stores as well as via a catalog and an ecommerce Web site.

The retailer adopted the solution from PCMS after facing challenges in managing the wait times for customers in line. It looked for a fast and easy-to-implement solution that would integrate with its existing point-of-sale system.

The implementation at Bass Pro Shops reflects how point-of-sale systems are evolving from basic processing systems to sales assist tools by integrating them with mobile devices. In some cases, these mobile solutions also including inventory, supply chain data and rich product information, including videos, to facilitate interactions between customers and store associates.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York