Nordstrom is quickly replacing cash registers with mobile checkout, joining J.C. Penney, Apple and what's expected to be a rush of other retailers to embrace technology to eliminate lines.
More than 6,000 Nordstrom salespeople are already using mobile devices to check people out, just like at Apple stores. By the end of this year, Nordstrom salespeople will be able to do everything on their handheld devices that they can at a register, says Jamie Nordstrom, president of the company's online division.
"I believe the future of our point-of-sale systems is completely mobile," he says. "It's hard to know whether it's in one year or five years because the technology is evolving so rapidly."
Several grocery stores — Costco and Sam's Club are two — already use employees armed with mobile devices for "line busting," retail consultant Kevin Sterneckert says. The workers scan products for customers standing in lines and print a bar code that they can take to cashiers to pay.