IBM Raises the Self-Service Bar with New Kiosk-Like Self Checkout Retail System

Speedy New Self Checkout System Allows Consumers to Pay For Merchandise Anywhere in a Store

Armonk, NY - 06 May 2008: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced first-of-a-kind self-checkout technology that allows consumers to shop for and check out purchases practically anywhere in a store. This new self checkout solution raises the bar for consumer self service options, giving retailers built-in flexibility, improved customer service and a new tool for building customer advocacy for their brands.

IBM also announced a new release of software to help speed the self checkout process, a new state-of-the-art entry-level kiosk, and an extension of its global self service alliance program to reach new markets and industries.

Designed for small businesses and large enterprise departments, the IBM AnyPlace Checkout system is the next major step in self checkout innovation. It combines the ultra-compact footprint of the market-leading IBM AnyPlace Kiosk with the robust capabilities of IBM self checkout software, giving clients the best of both worlds. 

According to a recent customer purchasing survey*, 10 percent of shoppers who left a store without making a purchase cited the wait to check out as a factor in their decision not to buy. More importantly, when forced to wait in line for more than four minutes, customer satisfaction levels fall below 80 percent.

Small to midsized retailers can now offer a fast, convenient checkout system for small orders, including those in specialty, drug and convenience store environments. Large retail operations can complement front-end self checkout with stand-alone placement of these units within grocery areas such as deli, floral or prepared foods, as well as departments of large stores and hospitality retailers.  

“Today’s market environment is tough and competitive, and there is huge pressure on retailers to transform and innovate, all driven by a need to change the shopping experience for consumers,” said Steve Ladwig, General Manager, Retail Store Solutions, IBM System & Technology Group. “The IBM AnyPlace Checkout allows us to help our clients serve their customers in totally new ways, answering consumer demand for easy-to-use self service in more places than ever before.”

According to an IHL Group 2007 market study on self checkout**, 98 percent of respondents have used self checkout, almost 50 percent have used it more than five times in the previous years, and 72 percent have readily accepted the technology in the marketplace. This study also reported that for 2008, consumers will spend more than US $230.7 billion on self checkout transactions at retail stores, up 28 percent over 2007.

“Self checkout not only continues to gain widespread acceptance with consumers, but we are also seeing that self-service solutions are paying off for retailers,” said Greg Buzek, President, IHL Consulting Group. “Our research shows that retailers that have embraced self-service technologies are redeploying labor to key profit areas, improving customer service with more lanes and improving profitability by increasing the number of profitable transactions.”

The IBM AnyPlace Checkout system expands the proven and successful IBM Self-Checkout family by extending the capability of when and where retailers can offer self-service transactions. This first-of-its-kind unit is the second major offering in an aggressive IBM consumer services campaign, and joins a growing portfolio of IBM and Business Partner self service offerings that span multiple industries, including retail, hospitality, travel and transportation.   IBM also announced today a new release of IBM Checkout Environment for Consumer-Service (CHEC), self checkout software that delivers a robust environment through a rich user experience, simple manageability and reliable Point-of-Sale integration. The modular software platform also allows for IBM Business Partners to tailor to a retailer’s specific needs.   A completely new self checkout design, the IBM AnyPlace Checkout system offers retailers new features and enhanced flexibility, making it easy for consumers to scan and pay for their items quickly. This new self-checkout unit offers a variety of hardware and software enhancements that include:

  New Entry-Level IBM AnyPlace Kiosk

IBM also introduced an entry-level AnyPlace Kiosk that can be used for a variety of kiosk applications or as a compact point-of-sale. This newest AnyPlace Kiosk 15” model allows small independent businesses to use advanced kiosk technology previously only available to large enterprises at a price they can afford. Additionally, the kiosk can be used by larger businesses for a variety of kiosk applications including product locators, price checkers and more. This entry-level kiosk unit comes with an energy-efficient processor and built-in power management capabilities that allow clients to reduce power consumption and run essential applications quickly and reliably. It is geared toward specialty, food service, gas and convenience retail businesses and is also tailored for use across multiple industries such as travel and transportation, hospitality and healthcare.     

IBM Business Partner Alliance Program Momentum   IBM also announced that approximately 100 Business Partners have joined its Self Service Alliance Program. Since its introduction last September in conjunction with the IBM Consumer Services Initiative, Business Partners representing 11 industries, 18 solution areas and 17 countries have signed up to help develop, market and distribute IBM self-service solutions worldwide, helping extend IBM leadership in self service across multiple industries. In just eight months, the IBM Self-Service Alliance program has grown into one of the largest business partner ecosystem focused on self-service for multiple industries, including pharmacy, banking, government and manufacturing. The program represents nine new countries, including Israel, Malaysia, Romania and Guatemala.

Pricing and Availability

The IBM AnyPlace Checkout will be available May 23 and is approximately half the price of a traditional self checkout system.

* Source: Measure, March 2007, National In-Store and M/A/R/C Research ** Source: IHL Group 2007 Self-Checkout Study

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