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At Stance, Skip the Line and Get those Socks With Just Your Smartphone

Stance, the sock chain beloved by the likes of pop siren Rihanna, the NBA bearded wonder James Harden and skater Ishod Wair, is likely to cement its cool-kid status with the addition of mobile self-checkout in stores.

Amazon most notably has innovated the seamless store experience with the Go “just walk out” concept, which is prompting other retailers to consider how they, too, can provide the most hassle-free shopping journey and attract shoppers back into stores. Checkout has long been one of consumers’ least favorite parts of the store experience, especially when they’re in a hurry to ring up just an item or two.

Scan-and-bag self-checkout terminals may have started the movement toward providing shoppers with greater convenience, but now retailers realize they can provide a truly frictionless checkout using what most customers already have: a smartphone.

To bring its vision of mobile self-checkout to life, Stance partnered with API-first digital commerce platform company Moltin to develop an app-free solution to the cash-wrap conundrum. “People don’t want to wait in line, and they don’t want to download an app to avoid a line either,” Paul Zaengle, executive vice president of direct to consumer at Stance, said in a statement. Together, Stance and Moltin created a mobile-optimized progressive web app that “provides the ease of an e-commerce checkout experience in a physical store.”

Zaengle told Sourcing Journal the Stance customer comes from a diverse demographic spectrum but maintains a strong affinity for quality, art and design. “Since we are known for our unique design aesthetic and exciting collaborations, consumers who love energy and innovation are what we would consider ‘typical’ to us,” he said.

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That enthusiasm for innovation likely will compel shoppers to give the new mobile in-store experience a try. To check out, customers pull up a short URL on their phones, scan the product barcode with their smartphone and are prompted to pay with Apple Pay, Google Pay or a stored credit card. Zaengle said Stance will continue to enhance the checkout solution and could add other payment methods in the future. “However, we’ve tried to minimize keystrokes and taps to increase convenience, and at this point, the thumbprint and facial recognition of Apple Pay and Google Pay are the fastest and easiest methods for our guests,” he explained.

The completed transaction generates a receipt, which shoppers must display for employees on their way out of the store. The goal, Stance said, is to free store associates from the chore of checking out and have them focus instead on value-added activities such as customer engagement and product education.

The mobile checkout solution has been in pilot mode at Stance’s on-site employee store for some time, where it represents 20 percent to 30 percent of all transactions at order sizes that are very close to the norm. “We expect regular stores to be lower as it takes time for us to educate consumers of the reality of this solution—it does sound a little too good to be true at first—and it will certainly increase as other retailers adopt a solution like this and it becomes more of an expected part of the shopper’s journey,” Zaengle said.

It’s too early to tell if the mobile self-checkout will reduce the two to four fixed POS terminals, and some additional mobile POS devices, typically found in store, Zaengle said, “but over time as adoption increases that would be the expectation.”

Overall, the development and deployment process went quickly. “Getting the scanning accuracy and speed just right from the browser was a bit challenging, since it is usually triggered in an app, which is a much more controlled experience,” Zaengle explained. “But the testing an implementation has been very smooth and is working extremely well in our stores.”

Moltin CEO Jamus Driscoll said the Stance deployment is proof that retailers of all sizes can achieve frictionless checkout. “It’s proof that cutting-edge solutions are not only for those with massive resources and footprints—the future is accessible to everyone,” he said.