Wednesday, August 1, 2012

J.C. Penney's Latest Leap: Retailer to Ditch Cash Registers, Cashiers

Daily Finance
August 1, 2012


JCPenney cash registers
Cash registers could join the ranks of pay phones and typewriters sooner than you think.

J.C. Penney (JCP) will say farewell to cash registers, checkout counters and cashiers by 2014, said Ron Johnson, the chain's CEO, during the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference, reports Time.

Penney's plan evokes Apple's (AAPL) mostly cash-register free stores -- and that comes as little surprise: Johnson was the head of Apple Retail and is considered the mastermind behind its success. He left Apple in November to take the top spot at J.C. Penney.

Johnson, who has been in the headlines lately for Penney's radical, controversial -- and so far, unsuccessful -- strategy to eliminate most of its sales and coupons, is now looking to shake up the checkout experience in the chain's stores.

His plan is to eliminate cashiers, cash registers and checkout counters, replacing them with a patchwork of technology solutions, such as WiFi networks, mobile checkout, RFID (radio frequency identification) technology tracking systems for merchandise, as well as self-checkout options.

"Think of a physical store without a cash wrap," Johnson told the audience, according to Time. "About 10% of all the money we spend, half a billion dollars a year, goes to [checkout] transactions." The money saved by replacing checkout stations with new technology could be invested in improving customer service, he said.

Ryan Taft, managing partner with OnSpot Social, an iPad app for retailers that collects Facebook "likes," Twitter followers and email addresses in-store, believes the retail industry is at the early stages of the end of the widespread use of cash registers.
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