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New Apple Store app lets you do self-checkout

Brendan Mcdermid / Reuters file

Apple Stores could get a whole lot more efficient with Apple's new app.

Enter an Apple Store anywhere and you're likely to find yourself wading through a crowd, and sometimes waiting for assistance. A new app, due out Thursday for iOS 5, will help streamline some of your visits and save time (and money) for customers, and ease the crunch on store employees.

Among the app's features, as reported by the Boy Genius Report, which cites a "trusted source":

  • Self-checkout: When you're in the store and find an item you want to buy, you launch the Apple Store app on your device, and there's an option to buy the item right then and there. You scan it using your i-whatever's camera, "click purchase, and it will charge whatever credit card is associated to your Apple ID."
  • Online order, in-store pick up: Apple, taking a cue from other retailers like Walmart and Best Buy, will expand the program which it has been doing in some of its stores, to all of its stores.
  • Return online orders in Apple stores: This would be super handy for those who want a quicker refund and don't want to deal with the hassle of sending products back.
  • In-store order, pick up in 12 minutes for a product in stock at the store:  What's significant about 12 minutes? Says BGR:

... the order goes through the system to the designated Apple Store in about 3 minutes. Apple’s back-of-house employees have 2 minutes to set all of the products aside on a shelf from the minute it was ordered. There is then a 7-minute grace period for employees to get everything else in order. Around 12 minutes after purchasing, customers will be able to walk into the Apple Store, skip lines, skip registers, get their products, sign for them and leave. We’re told Apple is really excited about this, and it’s something customers have been seeking for a while.

Apple has yet to comment on the new app. But the timing is great for it, with the holiday season now underway (yes, there were Christmas ads on TV on Halloween night; egad!).

Another benefit of the app is that if a customer is in the store and orders an item that's not in stock, the customer will get a pick-up date set after the purchase is made, and products will "have free shipping when sent to an Apple retail store." That will save dough, something much-appreciated for most of us, especially at this time of year.

— via BGR

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