QR codes have been a huge hit with smaller traders, especially in the hospitality industry, weekend markets and owner-run businesses. Zapper’s continued success at Dis-Chem, however, is proving that the technology is possible at even the largest of retailers – without the expense of new pin entry devices (PEDs) with complex interfaces or costly customer facing screens.

“When the opportunity to work with Dis-Chem arose, we were faced with an enormous challenge. QR payments in retail is very different to hospitality. In hospitality the invoice is printed prior to payment. In retail, receipts are printed after payment. We needed a way to present the user a dynamically generated QR code in real-time at the point of sale, inexpensively,” explains Brett White, CEO of Zapper.

The options for Zapper were: to roll out new customer-facing display screens at each checkout terminal nationwide; or print QR codes pre-transaction on request of the customer – which would have required a significant portion of new receipt printers to be replaced across the national footprint in order to accommodate higher resolution requirements for printing QR codes; or to integrate dynamic QR rendering into the pin entry devices, which would introduce third-party dependencies with significant friction and usability challenges. 

“This challenge of producing a dynamic QR code that was both paperless and didn’t require the store generating it on a digital screen seemed insurmountable,” adds White. 

However, by keeping it simple for both customer and cashier, Zapper came up with a now patented innovation that has all the data benefits of a dynamic QR code, and all the visual call-to-action benefits of a static QR code, without all the fuss and at a 97% cost saving of the aforementioned options.

Explaining the mechanics, White says: “Each till is fitted with a unique static QR code. When a customer asks to pay by Zapper, the cashier generates the total on the till, the invoice is instantly uploaded to the Zapper hosted service and, when the customer scans the code at that particular till point with a Zapper-enabled app, the app will automatically fetch the invoice and display the appropriate bill amount, debiting the customer’s linked card when they tap pay and the till receiving confirmation of payment. All of this with no need for any manual input by the shopper. To the customer, it’s like magic.”

White says the proprietary solution has been kept simple to allow retailers to get all the benefit of a dynamically rendered QR code, at a fraction of the equipment cost, with all the visibility and call-to-action benefit of a static QR code. Making it almost frictionless for the customer.

“Retailers have to bear significant monthly costs when it comes to their regular pin entry machines. We wanted to ensure that merchants of any size are able to get all the benefits of the Zapper solution without the long, complicated and costly integration which only the largest retailers would ordinarily be prepared to endure,” White explains. “With just a simple placard or sticker at each till, customers are made aware that they can checkout using their favourite mobile payment method. From start to finish, this solution was designed for maximum ease of use, which customers really appreciate, as do the merchants.” 

The Zapper platform also allows enhanced merchant benefits which make it particularly appealing for stores looking to offer voucher options or even full loyalty programmes. 

White explains that the relationship with Dis-Chem kicked off in January 2019, expanding to 185 stores so far and is showing a steady user growth with around 40 000 customers making use of Zapper when they checkout. 

“The work we have done with Dis-Chem has not only resulted in our new patented system, but shows that QR codes continue to offer a smarter, faster, and contactless payment method. If we can make it work at one of South Africa’s largest retailers, we are confident we can help anyone who is interested in offering a frictionless dynamic checkout experience,” White advises.