When Amazon launched Amazon Go in 2016, the world was fascinated by the shop of the future. From now on, customers no longer have to wait at the counter, but can just walk outside with the things they want. The payment is handled automatically thanks to the technology that detects which products you have taken with you.
The concept was also well studied at the offices of KBC, one of the largest Belgian banks. Soon the question came: how can we create a similar shopping experience in an affordable and simple way? In The Pocket joined forces with KBC to develop a proof of concept.
The shop serves the purpose of showcasing what is possible with low investment, and at the same time it’s the perfect environment to experiment with the deferred payments flow in which a client identifies when entering the store and at that moment a certain amount is reserved on the bank account. You could compare it to the way payment in petrol stations works. If the amount of goods purchased is below the reserved amount, the payment is automatically handled upon leaving the store.
As KBC is an innovative bank, we want to help improve the shopping experience for both the trader and the customer. With KBC Payments we can do that for a small - but very important - part: the payment. After all, customers want it to be faster and smoother, but still just as safe. The solution that we built together with our partner 'In The Pocket' is the perfect answer to this need.
To create this experience we used beacon technology installed at the shop, which will detect the presence of potential shoppers and send a notification asking whether they want to start shopping or not. In case Bluetooth isn’t activated on the user’s phone, he can open the app manually to start shopping.
The customer will first be asked to enter his PIN before starting his shopping spree in order to reserve a certain amount of money from his personal bank account. As he walks through the store, he’ll notice that the products carry NFC tags. Products can be added to his digital shopping basket by tapping his phone to the tags. Once done shopping, the queues can be avoided by simply tapping the phone to the exit gate. The payment will be done automatically. In case more money has been spent than was set aside upon entering the store, the user will be asked to enter his PIN once more before leaving the store. The receipt will be stored within the app.