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iPads are taking over for cash registers, and Groupon is helping

The days of the standard cash register are numbered. Mobile payment systems like Square have already transformed checkout lanes, but now Groupon hopes to make it even easier for merchants to accept payments with minimal hardware. Its new system, Gnome, can turn any iPad into a cash register and also accepts Groupon vouchers via Bluetooth.

Gnome is a point-of-sale system that allows merchants to accept cash, debit, and credit payments. Using the Gnome software, merchants can track profits, the number of Groupon vouchers used and whether or not those bargain hunters return to the store. Gnome will also record customers’ purchase history. Based on that information, merchants can then send targeted promotions to people and hopefully turn one-time visitors into return customers. 

Groupon expects all of the merchants who offer its vouchers to customers to adopt the Gnome payment system. Gnome will cost businesses $10 a month and 1.8 percent per purchase to process the transaction. An additional 15 cents will be charged for every MasterCard and Visa transaction. Groupon contends that all of its partners should purchase Gnome because it will soon be essential to the process of offering Groupon promotions. It is unknown how successful Groupon will be at convincing its partners to pay extra for Gnome, especially since most Groupon customers do not return once they’ve used the voucher. Of course, Groupon argues that using its cash register system will guarantee that more users become steady customers.

Part of Gnome’s appeal for both customers and vendors is that it can redeem Groupon vouchers via a Bluetooth scan. This eliminates the need for customers to print out the actual coupon or find it on their smartphone at the cash register. If that doesn’t work, Gnome can also search for deals using the customer’s name, the voucher number or Groupon barcode. Gnome’s new technology will certainly eliminate a whole lot of hassle for customers in long checkout lines. After all, there’s really nothing worse than being stuck behind a person searching frantically for their coupon or discount card.

Also, since businesses will record buyer preferences, the Groupon offers customers receive should be more personalized and useful. Customers can provide feedback about customer service, inventory and other aspects of the customer experience, too, which theoretically, should help local businesses improve their relationships with regular customers.

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