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Edmonton’s Lux Beauty Boutique hosts global launch of innovative mobile payment app

A chance meeting at a retail conference in New York City lands a local company at the forefront of a brand new technology

Jim Kerr is Venture Publishing's Associate Director of Digital Initiatives. Get in touch with him at

Dec 6, 2013

by Jim Kerr

LUXThe next time you walk through the front doors of Edmonton’s Lux Beauty Boutique, you’ll actually be stepping foot into the future of the “self checkout.”

That’s because tonight, Lux is hosting the global debut of a new app that allows shoppers to scan and purchase products in-store, right from their smartphones. Lux owner and CVO Jennifer Grimm says her small Edmonton store wound up as the beta client for the SelfPay app when she struck up a conversation with a lady sitting next to her at a National Retail Federation conference in New York City two years ago.

“I was listening to speakers for three days, thinking ‘Oh my gosh, I’m just a little store up in Edmonton – I see the potential [of mobile payment technology] and absolutely embrace it, but I don’t have the resources like these other people in the audience,’” Grimm says. “Totally serendipitously, I happened to be sitting next to a woman at the table who I started chatting with. She showed me her promotional video, I mentioned that I was a retailer from Edmonton and she said ‘You know, I’ve been looking for a small Canadian retailer who I could use as my beta client.’”

The rest, as they say, is history.

From there, Grimm formed a partnership with Wendy MacKinnon Keith of Toronto-based Digital Retail Apps, and after two years of development SelfPay is now ready for its close up.

Scan, Pay, Go

The app itself is really quite simple: Once you’ve downloaded it from the Apple Store (it’s available on Android in early 2014) and you’ve made an account using your credit card, you just head out to a participating store like Lux, scan the product you want to purchase and pay for it using your phone.

If you’re picturing handfuls of people stuffing handfuls of product in their pockets and casually walking out the front door, you’re not alone, says Grimm. That being said, she’s not worried about this new technology encouraging shoplifters.

“Shoppers using the app get a QR code on the receipt that shows up on their phone, and then as the retailer, I scan that code with my verification device and they leave,” Grimm explains. “Think about it: What’s stopping anyone right now from putting something in their pocket and walking out the door? Is it the big cash register in the corner?

“If someone is going to steal, they’re going to steal, and if anything, this is even more secure because I’ll have a person physically standing at the door with the verification device.”

For Grimm, the biggest advantage of SelfPay for a business of her size is what it will potentially do for the turnover of clients in her store.

“Nothing stresses me out more than a lineup,” she says. “If people are standing in line they’re not buying, they’re just waiting and getting frustrated. When you have an app that allows people to skip that line, now they’re actually spending more time shopping or you’re spending more time selling to the client instead of just having them wait.”

Another benefit, Grimm says, is the ability to give customers an end-to-end, consistent in-store experience.

“Imagine you finish up having a great experience with a makeup artist, you pick up your bundle of goods and you walk over to the cashier. Even though the cashier might be fantastic and trained to deliver a great experience, you still have that broken connection from step one to step two. Instead, the makeup artist can ask ‘Do you have a phone with you?’ and help the customer be on their way.”

Want to learn more?

If you’re interested in learning more about the app, Lux Beauty Boutique is hosting the official global launch of SelfPay tonight in Edmonton.

Apart from giving customers a chance to be among the first to use SelfPay, Wendy MacKinnon Keith of Digital Retail Apps will be on hand to answer any questions about the app itself.

The event runs from 5-9pm on Friday, December 6th at Lux Beauty Boutique – 12531, 102 avenue.

For more on Lux Beauty Boutique, head over to The Launchpad: Alberta Venture’s Guide to Starting a Business or watch the video below:

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