Since its launch in 2010, the iPad has been used for all kinds of things, ranging from simple fun with Angry Birds to more serious usage by doctors in hospitals and pilots in the cockpit. Now, the cloud-based cash register service, Revel Systems, is adding to this list: grocery stores. Based in San Francisco, Revel Systems has outfitted 400 fast-food chains, cafes, and retail stores with its iPad point-of-sale system, and is now trying to bring its cloud-based cash register system into grocery retail stores.
Baristas taking coffee orders with an iPad is old news, but a touchscreen based checkout system in grocery stores would be a major change for grocery store owners who are used to paying tens of thousands of dollars for point of sale (POS) systems.
So far, Marty’s Market, a small chain in Pittsburgh, Pa., has Revel’s iPads installed at all five checkout lanes, but the company is expecting more grocery stores will follow suit because it is a cheaper alternative to POS systems and many people are now already familiar with the iPad.
Revel’s iPad system for grocery stores costs $2,000 per software license (one for each grocery lane) and a $100 monthly service fee per license. At that price, stores get Revel’s cloud-based grocery inventory and payment system, but can also order other accessories like iPads, scanners, scales, coin dispensers, receipt printers, and more. Revel also sells an iPod touch that works with the system so employees can scan items when ordering new products.
Shoppers will still be able to pay with all the usual methods — cash, cards, coupons, food stamps, as well as services of mobile payment startups like Dwolla and LevelUp, which let customers make a transaction with a smartphone. The Revel Systems also have a “kiosk mode” that turns iPad registers into self-checkout stands.
While it won’t be easy for the two-year-old Revel Systems to break into the grocery stores, the company believes it has a good chance of doing so because their system is much cheaper than POS systems that cost thousands of dollars to buy as well as for upkeep. Those systems are often complicated and require weeks of training for new employees, while the iPad is simpler and many people are already familiar with it thanks to the success of the device worldwide. Revel also says iPads are easy to use, which makes them a natural cash register.
Revel Systems is definitely on its way, but really needs a big grocery store chain to buy its system before more stores will start choosing it over traditional POS systems.