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Mobile self-checkout business playbook

Delivering rapid, flex retail innovation.

This playbook is aimed at business owners and store operatives.

The aim of this playbook

This playbook provides business owners and store operatives with a high-level overview of the mobile self-checkout solution, and includes tips on how to streamline the self-checkout process in a physical space such as store, kiosk, popup, etc. It references important aspects of day-to-day operations such as bagging practices and overall logistics, staff training, signage, and loss prevention.

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Thank you for choosing Moltin as your innovation partner. At Moltin, we feel strongly that the next wave of commerce is experiential, frictionless, relevant, and in the moment. We set out to build a lightweight platform to enable innovative businesses with a builder mindset to be able to react to market trends quickly and create seamless transactional experiences that would delight customers, while capturing new business dollars.

Along this journey, we recognized a void between traditional eCommerce systems and POS solutions to enable in-store innovation and flexible retail selling beyond the store. Existing technologies simply could not stretch to fit the gap, and as a result exciting selling opportunities were left off roadmaps, innovation was sacrificed in favor of the status quo, and customer dollars were left on the table.

We saw a huge opportunity to help usher in this wave of retail innovation, and fill the gap. So we created our app-free mobile self-checkout.

Moltin mobile self-checkout - backed by our fast and flexible commerce APIs - is our answer to the market’s need for flex retail. In a world of flex retail, “stores” are no longer limited to buildings with four walls. You can literally sell anywhere. Events, trade shows, popups, trunk shows, via affiliates, in-store via BYOD or sales associate assisted - if your customers are there, we want to help you transact.

We are working hard to keep our customers on the forefront of digital commerce innovation, and partners like you are a critical part of that vision. This guide is intended to get you up and running - fast. Our goal is that businesses can turn around these selling experiences initially in as little as 4 weeks (and then in as little as 4 hours for each store after that). It’s an exciting time for commerce, and we can’t wait to see where you take it.

We look forward to working with you.


What is mobile self-checkout?

We created mobile self-checkout to remove friction from the physical buying experience, and allow brands and retailers to be reactive, adaptive, and flexible in where and how they sell. The initial impetus for the idea was simple: supplement in-store POS systems to offer a flexible checkout option on the shopper’s own device - reducing the staffing burden for stores and laying the foundation for in-store digitization and innovation. Ultimately, what we created was something that was capable of much more: a retail Swiss Army knife that unlocked a variety of use cases that were previously out of reach for many brands and retailers.

Tactically speaking, mobile self-checkout is a progressive web application (meaning browser-based experience - no downloads) that is capable of (1) scanning a product (using either a barcode or image), (2) surfacing product data, and (3) processing a checkout (either via a digital wallet, shopper credit card, and/or a card reader). We built this as a “reference application” (think of this as your partially assembled “lego kit”) with the intent of helping customers get 80% of the way there, leaving it to them to connect this into their existing architecture, customize to match their brand, and adjust any steps, pages or fields to meet the objectives of their specific use case (leveraging our commerce APIs - think of these as your “lego pieces” behind the scenes).

What we’ve learned in the market was that this solution answers the need for a number of different flavors of flex retail:
- Tweaking the cart and adding a card reader quickly transformed it into an associate app.
- Linking it into eCommerce data morphed it into a powerful event retail solution.
- Omitting the cart page and adding a richer PDP made it more of an endless aisle application.
- Using it as a primary checkout option basically removed the need for a legacy POS in the first place.

We saw an appetite for a number of different non-traditional retail use cases - all powered by the same elegant reference application, and powerful and flexible commerce APIs under the covers.


What's in the box?

The mobile self-checkout repository has everything your team needs to get up and running with the application. This includes:

1. Example wireframes to share with your UX team, so they can update the experience for your brand and desired experience.

2. All of the code your developer team needs to update and launch the app, including:
- Ionic app setup - including code for all the hooks back into Moltin.
- Barcode scan and look-up package.
- Starter styling for all the pages.
- Payment gateway configuration (Stripe by default), for fast payment processing integration.

3. Operations guidance to ensure successful in-store execution and shopper adoption.

With these “ingredients,” you’ll find your 80% of the way to the finish line of your mobile self-checkout project.


Store operations guide

As you ramp toward launch of your mobile self-checkout implementation, store preparation is critical to a successful experience. There are two key considerations as it pertains to store operations.

Staff Training
Bagging and logistics
Loss prevention

Staff Training

The application user experience was designed to be very consumer friendly and intuitive. In most cases, minimal staff training is required to get up and running with the application (an hour or two will likely suffice). Here are some best practices:

- When setting up the catalog in your Moltin store, create a couple of free or one penny test SKUs that can be used for testing and checking out with the app. You might also consider gifting staff members a small “allowance” to try out the app with a corporate credit card. (These SKUs can be removed after the testing phase, if you want to avoid using them beyond that time.)

- If you are using the standard barcode scanning library included in the reference application, ensure staff members using iPhones have at least iOS 11 or greater, and Android users are using 5.0 or greater. These are the minimum operating system requirements for barcode scanning (anyone using a more legacy operating system will have to do manual barcode entry to use the application).

- Encourage staff members to scan and try out a few different scenarios with the application - particularly those which likely represent common shopper situations (e.g., if your customers often buy many of a single item - try that, if they buy many different items - try that, etc.).

- Mimic the entire checkout process from start to end to anticipate where customers might get confused. This includes finding and scanning a product, checking out, bagging, and showing the store associate the receipt. (More on this below in the logistics section.)

- Demo videos can also be a good training tool to talk through different scenarios without risk of having staff accidentally purchase goods.

- If there are reporting obligations for staff members, review those scenarios as well.

- Provide a few different scripts or talk tracks to staff members to ensure customers are aware of this technology, and check out option in the store.

There are unlikely to be troubleshooting scenarios that staffing will have to resolve with the app, but if an issue does arise, typically refreshing the experience and re-scanning items (as needed) can resolve any issues.

Moltin does offer an assisted on-site store associate training package for customers who are interested. If you’d like to learn more about this, please contact your Customer Success Manager.



The biggest key to a successful mobile self-checkout launch is ensuring that shoppers know that the application is available! Stores that are implementing this technology represent the edge of the curve of in-store innovation, and shoppers - while excited about this tech - don’t yet know to look for it.

Prominent signage strategically placed throughout the store is a great way to make customers aware of the self-checkout option. We recommend a mix of formats in eye-popping colors with a screen shot of the application and clear call to action of how to get started. Having a QR code option on signage is a great way to expedite navigating to the store specific URL.

The exact number of signs will differ based on size of store and layout, but customers have seen success using a mix of:

- Large easel back signs and/or posters
- Table tents
- Floor decals
- Hanging tags in front of products

Signage should be dispersed such that any shopper entering the store should be aware of this checkout option within 30 seconds of being in the store.


Bagging and logistics

Again, as the self-checkout experience is new for many shoppers, bagging and walking out can feel confusing unless proper signage and logistics are in place. It’s important to have a clear bagging station configured and conduct some dry runs during the staff training process to ensure a frictionless customer experience.

1. Bagging stations should be set up for shoppers to bag all of the goods that they scanned.

- Using a different color bag than what cashier customers receive is a good way to flag or signal to store associates that this customer leveraged the self-checkout option.
- A small table in a high visibility area is typically sufficient for a bagging station. In other instances (with smaller goods), just having some hanging bags available works too (no table needed). Having some signage on the table that calls out that the bags are for self-checkout customers and how the app works is a good idea to ensure success.
- If there are security tags on the product(s), this is a good place to set up a way for store associates to remove security tags for self-checkout orders.

2. Store associates will need to (1) remove any security tags as needed, and (2) check the receipt within the app to confirm that what was purchased matches what was paid for.

- The final screen in the checkout experience includes a timestamp, animated image (making it impossible to screenshot and reuse the receipt), and an order summary of what was purchased. This screen doesn’t expire as long as the browser is open. If the screen is accidentally closed, the customer is also sent an email receipt that can be pulled up and reviewed (and as a last resort - the store associate or manager may have access to real-time reporting that lists all self-checkout purchases).

3. Once the associate confirms that the receipt matches the purchase, the customer is free to go with their purchase!


Loss prevention

As is the case with any physical retail, loss prevention is always a consideration, and preventative processes should be put in place - especially when new operations are introduced. The self-checkout process is new for most customers and the ability to walk out before paying (accidentally or intentionally) obviously needs to be avoided.

Every store and inventory of products is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to these logistics. We recommend evaluating current loss prevention measures and evaluating how and where those might change or adapt to be inclusive of the self-checkout option (an exercise which Moltin certainly has experience participating in, and would be happy to do for our customers implementing mobile self-checkout in the future). A few considerations as you think through these operations:

- As you are already leveraging store associates to assist customers around the store, you may consider positioning an associate(s) by the entrance of the store to monitor customers exiting with product, and confirm that self-checkout customers have a valid receipt.

- The animated image on the order confirmation page, coupled with the timestamp, makes it impossible to screenshot or reuse receipts. We recommend all self-checkout customers be prompted to show this confirmation before existing the store.

- As highlighted above, small bagging and/or security tag removal stations that are monitored by store associates can help ensure self-checkout customers leverage the process as intended.

- For luxury goods, you might consider additional technical steps to prevent any malicious action. Many security tags are triggerable by API call and could be synced with order purchase to deactivate upon checkout.

Again, even without self-checkout in the store, loss prevention is an issue that retailers need to plan for and address. Overwhelmingly, the benefits of introducing such an option generally outweigh any risk that might exist. Use of the app, married with logistics and operations that are true to your brand and store experience will yield a successful launch and delight customers.

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