Apple’s been lauded for the customer experience provided by its retail operations, part of which is its in-store mobile payments via EasyPay. This rumor suggests that the customer won’t have to extract a card from her wallet when purchasing an accessory for an iAnything this fall. Instead, using the in-store app, the customer can pick an item off the shelf and pay for it via her iTunes App account. In other words, the customer will make a card not present payment for an in-store purchase. This won’t apply to the real products – iPhones, iPods, iPads, etc. – but to the range of accessories on offer.
There’s been plenty of speculation over Apple’s plans for NFC in particular and payments in general. 200 million active iTunes accounts are certainly an asset to leverage and, with this rumor, it could be that Apple is going to learn a lot more about connecting point-of-service payments to a wallet in the cloud.
It is not entirely clear what will happen once a user has checked out via the app, although store employees will of course be on the lookout for store visitors walking out with merchandise in hand, as they are already. Customers who have made a purchase through self-checkout will be able to show an emailed receipt to any employee, confirming their purchase.
High value products such as Macs, iPhones, and iPods are kept in the stockroom at Apple retail stores, meaning that customers purchasing these items will still require assistance from a store employee. We have, however, been told that customers will be able to pre-purchase these items through the app and simply pick them up with the assistance of a store employee. But for the plethora of accessories, cases, and other items stocked directly on the sales floor at Apple retail stores customers will soon be able to purchase these items without needing to catch the attention of a store employee with an EasyPay device to complete the transaction.