Is This the Future of Retail?

The Apple Store has just debuted what a prominent business blogger calls “one of [his] favorite new toys”—the Apple Store app for the iPhone. Let him explain how it works: 

You walk into an Apple Store, find any product selling for less than $100, and scan the barcode with your phone’s camera. The app then asks you if you want to buy the product; if you do, you just type in your iTunes password, and you’re done. The purchase is charged to your iTunes account, and you can waltz out of the store without interacting with a single salesperson.

The app also generates an electronic receipt which can be seen in the app, so, as one blogger put it, “even the most nitpicky security guards shouldn’t offer much of a struggle.” 

What makes this a fascinating invention is the way it melds bricks-and-mortar and e-commerce. You can get something in your hands, quickly, efficiently, and you don’t have to talk to a soul. 

One point: even high-tech Apple wants to keep the items’ threshold to $100. Nobody’s letting anyone walk out of the door with a new $2,000 Mac laptop, computer-generated receipts or no. So it’s safe to say it will be a long time before anything like this comes to the jewelry industry. But as mobile payments evolve, as well as RFID and other security measures, who can say? 

JCK News Director