Mobile payments, particularly in physical locations, have a tendency to fall into the category of solutions in search of a problem to solve. It might be fun to wave a phone at a POS (at least the first few times), but it's not really all that much better or even really qualitatively different than swiping a card.
But that of course assumes that one is purchasing something smaller than a breadbox, which luckily most consumers are during the vast majority of purchases.
But if you happen to be at IKEA - well you are not making a normally sized purchase - because furniture is large. Even when you buy it at IKEA broken down into buildable kit form, the reality is that going through a checkout line can be something of a hassle, especially if one happens to put the barcode into the cart upside down.
Hence, IKEA is working on a way to use mobile technology to make the buying process that much easier.
“When you think about the whole of the mcommerce piece, how you are combining the online experience and how people act in the store, and you start providing services that make sense, giving the customer the power to decide what to do and where to take the next step is what we are looking at,” said Victor Bayata, global head mobile solutions at IKEA. “What we need to do, and this is again the formula that everyone tries and tests, is that we need to understand our customers’ needs and wants."
And that next step is a pilot program currently running in France that will make it possible for IKEA shoppers to scan their items via their phone camera as they shop and load items into their cart. At checkout, the app combines the total purchase and creates a QR code that is scanned at checkout instead of the individual items.
“For us, our ambition overall is to establish a great customer experience that can allow us to position our brand and engage with our customers, and definitely increase visitation to have people buy more,” Bayata said.