updated 08:00 pm EDT, Thu May 12, 2011
Follows Gap, Old Navy, others in testing
Nordstrom, the Seattle-based department store chain, is testing an iPod Touch-based point-of-sale system at their Seattle and Bellevue stores to reduce wait times for customers checking out with credit cards, according to a report from Geekwire. The company is using an unnamed sled attachment to the iPod Touch, which enables the devices to be remote credit-card and barcode readers, obtaining inventory information from the scanned barcode and then allowing customers to pay by swiping, which generates an automatic e-mail receipt.
The system described by Nordstrom is similar to an Apple-promoted system currently being tested by Gap, Old Navy, Guess Jeans and of course Apple's own retail stores. It differs from the Square reader in that the backing also handles barcode reading using a traditional laser reader, instead of just credit card transactions. Apple's system in particular has the advantage of tying into various back-end inventory and accounting management systems.
If the system used by Nordstrom is the same as that used by Apple, the backing is known as the Linea Pro and made by Infinite Peripherals. It combines a rechargeable battery pack with the swipe reader and bar code reader. Other companies, such as XSilva, use it in conjunction with their own Lightspeed Mobile app to create a wireless "terminal" that scans products and accepts payments while updating the Mac-based Lightspeed application on the same network.
Nordstrom, which had also been using iPads in certain specialty departments as part of a broader effort to improve customer service, made mention of its use of the new POS system at its annual shareholders meeting yesterday. [via GeekWire]