Virgin Megastore Times Square Features 150 New IBM Anyplace Kiosks That Help Create an 'Emotionally Exciting' Shopping Experience

Compact, Advanced Touchscreen Systems Provide On-Demand Information, Music, DVD and Game Previews

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NEW YORK, NY - 20 Sep 2005: Customers at Virgin Entertainment Group's completely refurbished flagship Virgin Megastore in Manhattan's Times Square are using 150 of IBM's latest hands-on, customized kiosks to preview virtually any of the thousands of CDs, DVDs, and console games in the store and gain a world of music information on demand, IBM announced today.

The world's premiere music-and-entertainment retailer, which promises an "emotionally exciting" shopping experience, has installed a custom application on 150 new IBM Anyplace Kiosks in its sprawling, three-level Manhattan store that is America's largest music-entertainment store. The IBM Anyplace Kiosks, built with a sleek and compact design engineered to withstand even the harshest retail environments, give shoppers the ability to sample more than 250,000 CDs, 11,000 DVDs and 7,000 games.

Virgin refers to the 150 new kiosks as Virgin Vault Kiosks. Through the use of the scanning, browsing and recommendation kiosks, Virgin is placing an emphasis on helping its customers to try before they buy almost any product. The Times Square store will have more of the Virgin Vault Kiosks than any Virgin Megastore in the world.

For example, a Virgin Megastore shopper interested in Kanye West's latest CD, "Late Registration," can instantly preview the CD, watch the video trailer for the DVD "Million Dollar Baby," or view reviews and screen shots from "Madden NFL 2006."

"Virgin is committed to being a leader in using advanced technology in the retail space. Our customers are comfortable using technology and are demanding better service than ever before," says Robert Fort, Director of Information Technology, Virgin Entertainment Group, North America. "Shoppers want a personalized, interactive and instantly fun shopping experience and, by using IBM Anyplace Kiosk, they get an unprecedented level of customer service as well as an intensely satisfying experience in our stores."

The 150 new IBM Anyplace Kiosks replace a small number of stationary, older and slower kiosks in the Times Square store, as well as other listening stations that were limited in function. With this new implementation, Virgin Megastore, Times Square is now building the infrastructure and laying the groundwork for offering shoppers even more choices in the future. For example, a "guided selling" application is planned to give the future capability to make product recommendations based on shoppers' music preferences and past purchases.

"Virgin has shown its complete commitment to both its shoppers and the future of music-and-entertainment retailing by investing in the development of its unique retail concept," said Tom Hawk, general manager, IBM Retail Store Solutions. "Shoppers today want information at their fingertips in the store in an on demand way. With the IBM Anyplace Kiosk, Virgin Megastore, Times Square gets a retail-hardened, reliable and durable technology that will meet and exceed their shoppers' demands in terms of choice, convenience and speed."

In addition to the new kiosks, IBM Business Consulting Services has been working with Virgin Entertainment on an operations and business strategy and helping develop a business transformation plan.

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