Zebra Technologies has announced the PS20, a new Android-based mobile barcode scanner that can be used by shoppers and store associates to scan and pay for items for without going through a traditional checkout line, according to a Zebra Technologies press release.
The PS20 is Zebra's sixth-generation personal shopping solution, the company said. New features include a microphone that allows shoppers to ask questions of store staff while shopping, a front-facing camera and more powerful scanning capabilities.
Zebra said the new device also supports Visible Light Communication (VLC), an optical wireless technology that can transmit location data with the help of fluorescent light to create indoor position systems. It will provide retailers with information about a customer's in-store location while delivering special offers and other assistance.
As Amazon Go continues to grow, the rest of the retail sector must continue to explore options for how to take friction out of in-store shopping and checkout processes. Amazon Go may be a specialized convenience store, but creating additional brick-and-mortar experiences for shoppers in the convenience segment will give consumers more options outside of the e-commerce giant.
There are many different things retailers can do to make the in-store experience more pleasant for customers, but when it comes to improving the checkout experience some answers are being found with upgrades in mobilization, either by placing apps or devices in the hands of shoppers, or by putting them in the hands of store associates (like Walmart is doing with its Lawn & Garden department), or sometimes both.
Zebra is creating an in-store network that puts power in the hands of shoppers to help scan and pay for items faster and more efficiently. It also enables in-store support by giving associates the same devices and using them as a two-way communications medium. Additionally, VLC technology keeps a more accurate track of inventory, which could help more retailers as mobile checkout becomes more common and less of a differentiator.
Already on its sixth-generation personal shopping device, Zebra's technology was built to support retailers both in-store and in the supply chain with barcode scanners, printers and other technology. Previous generations have been adopted by Europe's Carrefour and Target via mobile devices for employees.