IBM has crosshairs on checkout staff

7 May 2008

IBM is continuing its war on checkout staff with the launch of a first-of-a-kind self-checkout technology that allows shoppers pay for and check out products practically anywhere in a store.

The IBM AnyPlace Checkout system combines the compact footprint of IBM’s market-leading AnyPlace Kiosk with faster purchase processing capabilities.

The technology, due to be released on 23 May and costing around half the price of a traditional checkout system, will allow small- to mid-sized retailers offer a fast, convenient checkout system for small orders, such as those in specialty departments and convenience store environments.

Large retail operations will be able to complement front-end self checkout with stand-alone placement of these units within other areas of the store, said IBM.

“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.”

An IHL Group 2007 market study predicted that in 2008 consumers will spend more than US$230.7bn on self-checkout transactions at retail stores, up 28pc 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 retailers that have embraced self-service technologies are redeploying labour to key profit areas, improving customer service with more lanes and improving profitability by increasing the number of profitable transactions.”

The IBM AnyPlace Checkout units will be card-only in order to speed up transaction time.

By Niall Byrne