According to their Facebook bio, Urban Outfitters is the biggest small retailer in the world. Noting that’s a contradiction, the brand says they don’t intend to make sense on paper, and they don’t even have a logo.

It’s no surprise, then, that this out-of-the-box boutique retailer is fine with challenging the status quo.

According to Business Insider, at last week’s brand analyst day, Urban Outfitters revealed that they are going to phase out cash registers in favor of Apple touch-screen products.

Urban Outfitters iPadThe sales people will have iPod touches, similar to the Apple store (known for its wire-free, personal service), and the formerly on-counter registers will be replaced by iPads on swivel devices, allowing for cashiers to be on the same side of the counter as shoppers.

The company’s CIO Calvin Hollinger noted that purchasing iPads are about one-fifth the cost of cash registers, and provide a more diverse array of functionality, such as being turned toward customers, who can view content, put in personal information, create a gift registry, etc.

This seems like it could potentially present pros and cons:


  • It’s more efficient. With employees walking around with iPod touches able to authorize transactions, people don’t have to worry about waiting in line.
  • It’s cleaner. There are no wires, no large registers on the counter, etc.
  • Similarly, iPads not-in-use can be easily removed from the counter, allowing for more space for organizing or other projects.
  • It shows a progressive stance on implementing technology. Beverage company Total Wine & More also recently made huge strides in regard to creating a tech-friendly atmosphere for guests.
  • Eventually, with complete reliance on advance technology comes the possibility that retailers won’t need to hire as many employees. People will probably be able to ring themselves out via iPad (similar to self check-out options at grocery stores and the like). While this is a money-saver for the stores, it’ll could hurt the economy as well as the younger generations that typically rely on these kinds of jobs.
  • There could be more potential for shoplifting. With people just wandering around and being able to check out wherever, it seems much more easy for someone to claim to have checked out and rang up items (and “lost” their receipt), when they haven’t yet.
  • It’s more difficult to tailor to the cash-preferring crowd. While they’re becoming fewer and far between, kids or those with only cash them won’t have the same accessibility to these options that prefer credit card swiping.
What do you think? Do you like the idea of using iPads at stores, or do you prefer good-ol’-fashioned cash registers?