After a successful test project in a Washington supermarket, QThru is officially launching its mobile platform allowing shoppers to scan items with their smartphone as they shop to facilitate a more efficient checkout using their phone.

"Given recent advancements in technology, consumers are realizing there is a better way to check out of a retail store without standing in a long line," Aaron Roberts, founder and CEO of QThru, said in a company press release. "Current self-checkout stations only magnify the problem because they are slow and inefficient and create a bottleneck in the store. QThru provides a simple solution that saves time while also building customer loyalty."

How it works

After a simple installation, Roberts said, a retailer's products and pricing are seamlessly synchronized with the QThru cloud. Customers can then download the QThru smartphone app and start shopping. To complete the checkout process shoppers enter a previously stored pass code and scan a QR code at a checkout kiosk which completes the transaction from their phones. QThru uses a cloud-based, PCI-compliant, secure storage facility to protect payment and personal information. A receipt is generated from the kiosk, which is highlighted in a different color and is reviewed by a store employee at the door.

"For the past year and a half we have worked with retailers to understand their needs," said Roberts, who deployed the system six months ago at the IGA Ridge Supermarket in Snoqualmie, Wash. "We are convinced the QThru platform provides a turnkey solution for enhanced efficiency, loyalty and security for any retail business. The greatest challenge was not the comprehensive database integration but rather the ability to include weights and measures for items such as produce. But we knew if we could handle that scenario then we could handle anything else."

The cost

The cost for a retail store to integrate with QThru is free. Adding a checkout kiosk is $900, and the inclusion of a digital scale brings the price to $5,000, a fraction of the cost of the self-checkout stands seen today, Roberts said.

Myers Group, which owns IGA Ridge Supermarket, plans to deploy the technology to its other retail locations, including a hardware store, said Tyler Myers, president of the Myers Group.

"We wanted to see how our customers embraced this alternative technology, and it was enormously popular," he said.

QThru recently announced $3.5 million in private financing, allowing the company to move forward with its growth strategy and installation plans.

Read more about retail kiosks.

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