MobileShopper – A Cooler Way To Shop

Point of Sale specialist DigiPoS has launched what it describes as an “mCommerce ecosystem”, called MobileShopper. It takes the form of an app, currently available for iPhone, with Android and BlackBerry versions due soon, which is free for consumers to download, but for which the retailer for whom the app has been tailored pays £1 per download.

In effect, MobileShopper is a b2b play, which DigiPoS is pitching to retailers. When it gets a retailer on board, the company tailors the app for that retailer’s outlets. The retailer would then encourage their customers to download the app to make their in-store shopping experience easier. For each copy of the app downloaded, the retailer pays DigiPoS £1.

So if two competing retailers both took the app on board, the consumer would effectively download it twice, as two separate apps, albeit they might look and feel similar, depending on the level of customisation the retailer had commissioned.

When we put it to the company that a large retailer might be discouraged by this pricing model, as an app doanloaded 1m times would end up costing them £1m, DigiPoS VP sales and marketing, Mark Leaper, told us that the company would consider a fixed fee arrangement for the first six or 12 months, with unlimited downloads, adding: “In our experience, most retailers are happy to spend money if something becomes wildly successful.” Leaper also said that any retailer could benefit from the app, even if they already had their own mobile apps and services.

With the app on their iPhone, when shopping at a participating retailer, a consumer would be able to find their nearest store, and once within the store, use the app to scan products they want to buy and add them to their basket. When they are ready to checkout, the consumer would have the option of paying for their goods at the till, or paying by credit card or PayPal, without involving the checkout staff.

Leaper told us that different retailers are approaching the trust issue this throws up in different ways, with some opting for random checks, and others preferring to bag up the consumer’s items so they can check that everything in the basket has been paid for.

There is more to the app than self-scanning and checkout though. A messaging feature targets consumers with relevant offers and promotions while they are in the store. This is driven by a promotions module that sits in the gateway server, with an XML link into the retailer’s existing infrastructure. The module has 180 promotion types that sit beneath the app, with messages ranging from a traditional BOGOF (Buy One Get One Free), to more dynamic messaging, targeting a consumer with a competing product at the point of purchase. For instance, a shopper who scans in a bottle of Coke could be targeted with a 2-for-1 offer for Pepsi instead. If he or she accepts, the Coke transaction is cancelled. The messaging module is sophisticated enough to apply this offer to the first Pepsi purchase, but not to subsequent ones.

The system also enables the retailer to offer customers items for sale that are not currently in stock. When the customer hits the ‘Buy’ button, they are advised that the item will be shipped to them in 48 hours, or however long it’s going to be. “This feature enables the retailer to sell the item seamlessly, even though it’s not in the store, instead of losing the sale,” says Leaper. The final element to the app is home shopping, whereby a consumer can scan items they want to buy at home, and then checkout to have them delivered.

Leaper say the company is at ‘Statement of Work’ stage with four customers, to get its system installed. He describes these as Tier-1 players in the UK and the US, adding that the idea is proving popular with clothing retailers.

Unlike some of the e-commerce players who are now moving into the mobile space, as retailers try to mobilise their offering, Leaper says DigiPos is approaching mobile from the bricks and mortar transactional perspective. The company’s expertise is in selling and servicing Point of Sale solutions to retailers.  
There’s more information about MobileShopper here.