Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The end of cash registers

Zingerman's Delicatessen is working on overhauling it's entire order-taking and cash register system to a series of iPads. (A screen shot of the test version, above.) Yesterday, Urban Outfitters announced it's doing the same thing at all of its stores.

You see it happening everywhere. I went to a bakery last week and they took my credit card on an iPhone. I went to the next shop, a cafe, and paid cash. They rang up the transaction on an iPad. We've used Square for two years at ZMO for our warehouse sales, it works really well.

This is not going to stop. The cash register industry is about to go the way of the frozen water trade. The benefit to the businesses is that the software to run a cash system is no longer tied to its hardware. If you don't like Square you can dump it and use a competitor, but keep the iPad. The benefits to us customers is that we don't have to wait in line. Anyone can be a cashier. In the future shops won't have to devote any real estate to the cash stand. In many places it will disappear. Where do I pay? Anywhere. Everywhere.

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