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Finish Line rolls out mobile POS system in time for holiday shopping

Athletic retailer Finish Line is gearing up for the holidays by equipping store associates with mobile POS devices so that shoppers do not have to stand in line to make a purchase.

The retailer is putting iPod touches in 638 of its stores. The roll out, which follows a successful trial period, is expected to be completed by mid-November in time for the start of the busy holiday shopping season.

“Using VeriFone’s mobile card acceptance solution for the iPod touch creates the ability to line bust at the cash register and assist with making a purchase,” said Terry Ledbetter, senior vice president and chief information officer at Finish Line, in a statement.

“Our mobile payment devices enable our associates to fully service our customers on the sales floor and avoid checkout lines,” he said. “We are also able to line bust during busy times to further reduce customer frustration.”

Driving sales
With initial results from the Finish Line pilot showing that the mobile devices help drive sales for retailers, the retailer is deploying iPod touches equipped with VeriFone’s Payware Mobile Enterprise mobile card acceptance devices. Finish Line will be using 3,200 of these devices in its stores.

The Payware Mobile Enterprise card reader is integrated with a 2D bar code scanner and works with all forms of electronic payment including magnetic stripe, chip and PIN and contactless/NFC-enabled cards and phones.

Using iPod touches, Finish Line associates will be able to process payments from anywhere inside a store. The strategy is expected to enhance the in-store experience by enabling shoppers  to not have to wait in line at the checkout to make a purchase during busy shopping periods.  

Retailers embrace mobile
Holiday shoppers this year are likely to encounter multiple opportunities to pay for their in-store purchases directly to a store associate equipped with a mobile POS device.

In the past year, several  retailers have adopted mobile POS strategies from a variety of vendors. The list of retailers using mobile POS includes Sephora, Nordstrom, Eastern Mountain Sports, Guess and others.

Mobile POS is being eyed by retailers not just because of its potential for line-busting but also because it can help build better relationships between customers and store associates.

Mobile POS is just one way that mobile will transform in-store payments this holiday season. There are also a growing number of retailers who have contactless POS systems enabling shoppers to tap an NFC-enabled phone at checkout to pay for a  purchase.

Additionally, some retailers have installed scanners enabling consumers to pay in-store via a 2D bar code on their mobile screen.

The mobile POS strategy is part of a broader upgrade of Finish Line’s POS systems, including the installation of 1,600 countertop payment systems from VeriFone that deliver multimedia, content and payments. The retailer is also upgrading to Micros Systems xStore POS and miStore mobile point of sale.

“Finish Line’s vision for a new retail experience and insight into changing consumer needs are at the forefront of the coming transformation of the point of sale,” said Jennifer Miles, executive vice president, North America, at VeriFone. “VeriFone helps to enable this transformation by managing complex mobile retail applications, while making transactions simple for the consumer, and providing a common interface across the enterprise.”

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