If you remember back in 2005, Apple implemented their EasyPay retail payment system throughout their worldwide chain of stores using Windows CE Devices. The larger devices were not taken to kindly by Apple employees, yet they thought the payment system that untethered them form registers had merit.

In 2009, Apple moved their retail staff to more reliable, easier to use and frankly, cooler iPod touch units. Running a custom iOS application, the iPod touch is placed in a special case that adds a barcode scanner and credit card reader to turn it into a truly mobile checkout system.

This year Apple is working with Gap, parent company of Old Navy, to implement the same units in all Old Navy Stores. The Gap has confirmed that it was “piloting Apple’s iPod-based EasyPay package and is being branded ZipCheck”. Both systems can check out customers remotely in the store, but while Apple employees need to pick up the papercreepyoldnavymannequins receipt from a fixed in store printe,r some Old Navy employees will have the additional ability to print to mobile printers attached to the hip. Now I’m not sure how comfortable this will be for employees and the “cool” factor definitely drops a notch, but it will be convenient.

The benefit that Apple has experienced is it’s staff can handle many more customers in a shorter period of time and has eliminated long lines, which customers typically despise. Associates in stores that implement these systems will undoubtedly increase the positive customer experience. There is just something about having the same person help you with your buying decision, and complete your transaction at the same time, as opposed to standing in the never ending holiday queue we call lines.

I can see these payment systems changing the way stores are laid out and how employees interact with their customers. The one problem I see with the potential of eliminating registers is the loss of a perceived theft deterrent. There is just something about having a register at the entrance of the store that makes most people want to pay and not just steal the merchandise.

The fact that Apple is rolling this POS system out to other retailers is a great sign for the company’s investors as it will undoubtedly increase revenues. This development could open up a whole new revenue stream and quite frankly, could spur another division of Apple. Retailers would be more apt to install these type of systems as opposed to numerous registers that are both expensive to maintain, and less versatile due to their stationary nature.

I personally would  be very accepting of retail stores implementing these EasyPay systems as I like to get in, get what I need, and get out. The worst part of shopping is the endless lines, and this system eliminates some of that.

Do you think this checkout system is more efficient and friendly or will you miss the traditional lines and register setup?

(via 9to5 Mac)