IBM Introduces Retail’s First Completely Modular Self-Checkout System

Unique Design Promises Smarter, Faster Consumer Shopping Experience

ARMONK, N.Y. (January 11, 2011) – IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a retail solution that is uniquely designed to provide consumers a smarter, faster checkout experience.  Its sleek, first-of-a-kind modular design could literally change the way shoppers view self checkout.

According to a 2011 IBM Institute of Business Value study on capitalizing on the smarter consumer, “retailers need to empower customers by making it as easy as possible for them to complete the shopping process, which includes providing the right services and letting consumers choose how they interact.”  The study stated that 40 percent of shoppers want to check prices wherever they are and get promotions based on the items they scan, while 50% are willing to use personal mobile devices to avoid checkout lanes.

The IBM Self Checkout System 6 was built for flexibility.  It allows retailers to deploy modular scanning, payment and bagging units that suit any size retail environment, from large hypermarkets to very small convenience stores.  Using the System 6, retailers can choose to set up a totally integrated system, separate scanning from payment, or deploy distinct “pay stations” to complement cashless lanes, which allows them to provide shoppers choices in how they complete the shopping process.  Retailers can also accommodate mobile shoppers using hand-held devices such as a cell phone or personal shopper device.

“Our customers are looking for a pleasant and convenient checkout experience, and many look toward our self checkout lanes to find that,” said Russ Ross, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Giant Eagle.  ”We continually evaluate opportunities to improve the shopping experience for our customers, and look forward to piloting System 6.  We rely on proven retail technology providers like IBM to continually innovate and deliver products like System 6 that are capable of helping differentiate us in the supermarket space.”

IBM Self Checkout System 6’s revolutionary design offers retailers the shortest scan to bag distance of any existing self-checkout solution, which helps make the checkout experience not only faster but easier for the shopper as well.  The scan-to-bag distance has been reduced by as much as 36 percent compared to other offerings, greatly minimizing the time it takes for a consumer to scan and bag items in the shopping cart.

The new self checkout system also has been optimized to leverage IBM’s powerful Checkout Environment for Consumer-Service (CHEC) software that offers retailers a comprehensive solution that effectively manages and helps lower total ownership costs.  CHEC allows retailer-unique, custom extensions to run on a global base application, along with open, reliable point-of-sale integration and remote systems management capability.  It also has a newly-designed graphical user interface to help improve the consumer experience.

“I am convinced that in today’s market, modular self checkout solutions have become the new black.  Tough economic times make it even more imperative that we deploy reliable, sustainable front-end technology that is flexible, and capable of providing the greatest possible return on investment,” said Mr. Heinz Hermann Cassens, CIO at Metro real in Germany.  ”IBM has taken great pains to design new self checkout systems with the customer in mind, enabling us to start slow and grow fast — from cashless to cash, and to any other future option, at our pace, without having to rip out our entire initial investment.”

Smaller footprint for optimized store space

These modular units were designed to enhance the customer experience while taking up less floor space, an important factor for retailers looking to offer a self checkout option in smaller locations such as convenience, independent grocery and specialty stores.  The smaller design can also free up valuable floor space for revenue-generating front-end merchandising.  In addition, due to the innovative modularity, retailers now have the ability to offer a cashless scanning system without the payment module, taking up less space, reducing unnecessary costs, and streamlining the self-checkout experience.

Improved Cash Management and Security

The modularly-designed System 6 also offers choice for cash recycling and greater security, as well as the ability for retailers to do real-time cash tracking and reporting.  Cash continues to be an attractive payment choice globally, so the need to offer a cash payment choice is critical.  System 6 now offers the option of cash recycling for bills/notes and coins as an effective way to minimize cash management operational costs.

Regardless of whether you recycle cash or not, the IBM System 6 design provides retailers with greater control over cash access.  With the IBM payment module, retailers can have separate key access to cash, ensuring greater security and lowering cash shrink.

Intuitive User Experience

IBM remains committed to providing an intuitive user experience, with 100 percent of interaction remaining above-the-counter, making scanning, bagging and payment fast, easy and convenient.  With System 6, IBM has added additional “follow me” lighting on all inputs so that consumers have a clear understanding of next steps and where they are in the self checkout process.

IBM Self Checkout systems continue to be designed around American Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines to ensure easy access to the display and all devices during transactions.  Now, the CHEC user interface has a disability access button on all screens that allows instant access to all information on the bottom half of the display.

Enhanced investment protection

Modularity offers retailers flexibility in checkout configuration that can be changed over time to suit changing requirements and needs, translating into greater investment protection.  

The modular IBM Self Checkout System 6 is available for order immediately with general availability planned for May 27, 2011.

About IBM Retail Store Solutions

For more information about IBM Retail Store Solutions products visit:  

James E. Smith
IBM Media Relations

Source: IBM

Related Links