Apple Stores Looking to Enable Self-Checkouts Via iOS App

Apple Stores are already considered trendsetters in the retail space. From their awe-inspiring architecture to their product-focused environments, the Cupertino company’s world-wide chain has other retailers turning green with envy.

Now it seems like the Mac-makers are looking to start another fad: self-checkout. No, we’re not talking about those big machines at your local Walmart. We’re talking about customers paying for items using their iPhones without the help of a sales clerk…

MacRumors is reporting that Apple is planning on releasing an update to its Apple Store application that will allow users to purchase accessories in-store without needing to flag down an Apple employee. Here’s how it will work:

“According to our source, self-checkout purchases will be charged via the Apple Store app to the customer’s iTunes Store account. 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.”

Obviously, Apple’s higher-end products won’t be eligible for the service due to being tucked away in the stock room, but accessories and other small purchases will be fair game.

Even current NFC-enabled checkouts generally require the presence of a store employee, so it’ll be interesting to see what Apple’s experience will be like. And with a predicted start date of November 3rd, we may not have to wait long to find out.

Theft concerns aside, Apple’s self-checkout project could be a big hit if it’s successful. The Cupertino company could potentially open the service up to other retailers or even convenience stores, allowing customers to make purchases through their iTunes accounts.

What’s your take on Apple’s self-checkout project?