IKEA Sets Up a New Checkout System Using Quick Response Codes

Sometimes, some advancements in mobile payments don’t really look like advancements so much as they look like cosmetic improvements over established technologies and principles.

A recent move from IKEA might be considered such a cosmetic improvement, but its new mobile checkout system, which turns to quick response (QR) codes, might be a bit more innovative than some expect.

IKEA has an unusual proposition to work with; the items it offers are generally a lot larger than most places sell. That’s commonly the case with furniture.

That means trying to scan the item at a checkout station can be difficult, and conventional point of sale systems aren’t exactly the best for such a situation.

It only gets worse if the barcodes aren’t exactly lined up for the scanner. That’s given IKEA the idea that it needs to try and merge online shopping with brick-and-mortar shopping.

The pilot program that resulted is currently operating in French IKEA outlets, allowing users to use smartphone cameras to scan items while shopping.

At the checkout, meanwhile, the purchase is settled using a QR code generated from the smartphone, rather than scanning several individual items.

As a basic concept, it’s brilliant. Instead of making people scan items one at a time at the checkout stand, they can just scan one thing—that QR code—and walk out, the entire item taken care of.

If ever there were a way to speed up checkout at the grocery store, that would be it.

Imagine that for a minute; instead of hitting the checkout lane and having your 12 items or less—or more—scanned one at a time while a line stacks up behind you, you can just scan the items as you pick them up, then one scan at the checkout lane, the items are paid for.

This may be a good idea for IKEA, but it’s an absolutely killer idea at the supermarket.

Hopefully IKEA’s idea will catch on outside IKEA, but for right now, IKEA looks like it will have a great idea for its own operations.

That kind of convenience could make brick-and-mortar stores a little more attractive, and give them an all-too-necessary edge against online options.

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