Death of a sales register: Decathlon mobilizes retail checkout

For its U.S. launch, France-based sporting goods company Decathlon replaced traditional checkout queues with iPhones, Apple Pay and RFID tags. Will it work? CIO Tony Leon is counting on it.

Death of a sales register: Decathlon mobilizes retail checkout
bsd555 / monsitj / Getty Images

An international sporting goods store with designs on conquering the U.S. market is playing a long game that could foreshadow the future of retail commerce. That France-based Decathlon, which operates more than 1,500 stores in 49 countries, launched its first U.S. store in Emeryville, Calif., in April isn't a big deal on its face. Hungry retail chains plant new flags daily.

But in the latest departure from brick-and-mortar trappings, Decathlon is eschewing checkout lines for mobile point-of-sale systems and cashless payments. Store associates roam the 47,000-square-foot store, checking customers out using mobile checkout stations and iPhones loaded with point-of-sale (POS) software, says Decathlon CIO Tony Leon, who has been quietly working on Decathlon's U.S. launch over the past four years. Store associates "help customers as opposed to being stuck behind a cash wrap waiting to process transactions with a clunky old POS," Leon says.

Retail has historically had little appetite for investing in digital technologies, but customer expectations have spurred the sector to invest heavily in business transformation, according to Gartner, which says that the global retail sector's spending on technology will grow 3.6 percent to top $203.6 billion in 2019.  Some of these investments include cashless technology systems and “smart checkout” solutions, which bundle together various digital technologies to eliminate the need for consumers to go through the traditional check-out lane, Gartner says.

Erasing the lines

To continue reading this article register now

FREE Download: Get the Spring 2019 digital issue of CIO magazine!