AisleBuyer, Growing Fast, Looks to Own Mobile Checkout With New Android App

11/30/10Follow @xconomy

Consumers may love the convenience of self-checkout stands while shopping, but getting those machines into stores carries a hefty price tag for retailers. Boston-based startup AisleBuyer is looking to bring that same convenience to customers without the installment cost to retailers, with its iPhone and Android mobile app, the latter of which went live today.

“The retailer is putting a cash register in the pocket of potentially every person who walks in the door,” AisleBuyer CEO Andrew Paradise says.

That’s assuming they have a smartphone, of course. The AisleBuyer app, which enlisted its first partner store in August, enables shoppers to scan in-store items with their phone’s camera. Once scanned, consumers can read product reviews and opt to purchase the physical item right then and there from their phone, avoiding lines at the register. They then show store employees their receipt on their mobile screen when they walk out of the store with their purchase in hand. “You get the best of the online experience and the best of the offline world,” Paradise told me when we talked about the iPhone app launch this summer. AisleBuyer, which is free to consumers and charges stores a fee per transaction, is also hitting the Android app marketplace today.

Boston-area toy and children’s store Magic Beans is AisleBuyer’s first retailer customer, but the company has signed up brands that bring with them more than 8,000 stores across the country, Paradise says. It will be rolling out those installments throughout the first half of next year, he says.

Paradise didn’t reveal the number of customers and transactions the AisleBuyer app has garnered since going live in Magic Beans, but said, “We’re seeing numbers that are multiples of what we expected.”

The store could also entice some new AisleBuyer users with incentives for using the app this holiday season. Up until Christmas, each Magic Beans shopper who uses AisleBuyer to check out will spin a virtual wheel—à la the game show The Price is Right—and get $1, $3, or $5 off their purchase. And at least one consumer will get his or her entire purchase for 99 cents, as part of the mobile raffle.

The big focus for AisleBuyer, which incorporated last December, is beefing up its retailer customer base, and it has brought in some money to do just that. Earlier this month the startup announced it had raised $4 million in Series A financing, with a line of credit from Silicon Valley Bank and an equity investment from Richard Heise, Jr., a founding investor in Groupon and public companies InnerWorkings and Echo Global Logistics. AisleBuyer is looking to make use of his experience in helping ventures grow big, Paradise says.

The company, which is up to 25 employees, is also developing features for social shopping and check-ins, but that’s not its first priority, Paradise says. “We’re focused on being a utility application for retailers,” he says.

So don’t expect AisleBuyer to become the next Foursquare or SCVNGR. “There are a lot of different apps out there about the check-in. AisleBuyer is all about the checkout,” Paradise says.

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