Primo, the Japanese startup, has created a mobile app that enables shoppers to skip the checkout line through the quick scan of a QR code.
According to a report in Bloomberg News, Primo is betting that this new service will appeal to businesses that want to cut down on long lines in-store and make it even more convenient for their customers. Primo launched in October and has brought on 90 merchants in Japan since then, including a chocolate maker, a high-end tea brand and the audio equipment maker Bang & Olufsen.
“You don’t have to be a billionaire to shop like this,” said Abasa Phillips, founder of Primo, in the report. “A lot of companies are working on optimizing the register, but the problem is the 10- to 15-minute wait before the purchase.” According to Primo, using QR tags is cheap and easy to deploy and can be read by any smartphone with a camera, which reduces the barriers to adoption for merchants. QR codes aren’t used by many consumers in the U.S. or in Europe, but they are very popular in Japan, China and other parts of Asia.
“Most tech companies tend to want to use the newest thing out there, so they kind of skipped over this use case for QR codes,” Phillips said in the report. “You really see the potential in China, where every store, every product and every business card has a QR code on it.” Primo recently tested its technology in a pop-up shop that was open 24 hours and offered twenty brands and products. Primo gets 10 percent of yearly transactions, including the credit card processing fees. It’s aiming to raise $1 million in a seed round of funding to expand into the U.S.