C. Wonder Rolls Out Mobile-only Checkouts

US women’s fashion retailer C. Wonder has deployed the VeriFone GlobalBay Mobile POS and PAYware Mobile Enterprise solutions in its stores, in preference to traditional cash registers, in order to speed up the checkout process. The solution enables the retailer’s sales associates to assist shoppers with checkout, anywhere in the store, using an iPod Touch. Verifone says the mPOS execution expedites payment transactions and advances shopping to a new level of personal service.

Founded by investor and entrepreneur J. Christopher Burch, C. Wonder opened its flagship Manhattan store in October 2011, followed by three additional stores in New York and New Jersey, with plans for another 15 stores by the end of 2012. VeriFones GlobalBay solution is designed for seamless activation of mPOS at every new store.

“C. Wonder is applying technology solutions to redefine 21st Century retail, including the unexpected benefit of not waiting in a long line at a traditional cash register,” says C. Wonder vice president of IT, Mattias Douhan. “Mobile point of sale frees up associates to assist shoppers at any place in the store where they are inspired to make a purchase.”

The mobile retail solution is also cost-effective, says Verifone, because stores of this size typically rely on three to four fixed registers; but C. Wonder has deployed 15-20 Apple iTouch devices per store, each equipped with VeriFones PAYware Mobile Enterprise, increasing the points of payment and the volume of payment transactions. This represents a savings on hardware and expands selling space that would otherwise be occupied by registers.

An associate uses an Apple iPod Touch running the VeriFone GlobalBay app and equipped with VeriFones PCI-approved PAYware Mobile Enterprise, which accepts card swipes, instantly encrypts the data and also enables quick and efficient barcode scanning.

By hosting an entirely mobile POS sales floor, C. Wonder avoided the traditional POS software that retailers deploy and instead integrated directly to a custom ERP system modified from the Jeeves Universal flexible standard ERP solution. This approach provides real-time information for management through C. Wonders centrally hosted ERP system as associates assist customers anywhere in the store.


David Murphy writes:
I’ve been saying for a little while now that the inside of the average shop is going to see some big changes in the next few years, more than over the last 20 in all probability. In-store wi-fi, on-shelf QR codes or other “urban bookmarks” that connect the offline world to the online, these are just a  couple of ways that the braver, more astute retailers will embrace the world of mCommerce within their bricks and mortar outlets.

Queue-busting solutions are also likely to form part of this evolution. Staff armed with some sort of mobile terminal – an iPod touch seems to be the current preference – effectively take the till to the customer, rather than make the customer queue at the till. What’s fascinating about the C. Wonder deployment is that the retailer has dispensed with the tills completely. The only checkouts in its stores are the iPod touch units, equipped with Verifone Global Bay’s Mobile POS and PAYware Mobile Enterprise software.

As a start-up – it launched its first store last October – C. Wonder is, of course, in a better position to do this than most retailers, who have their legacy POS infrastructure to think about. Even so, this is a radical and potentially far-reaching development, and a significant marker in the story of the in-store mCommerce revolution I believe we are about to see. Bring it on.