IBM is launching AnyPlace Checkout, a self-checkout solution that retailers can place almost anywhere in a store.
"Our consumer service technology strategy is focused on three words: attract, interact and transact," said Juhi Jotwani, director of marketing strategy for retail store solutions for IBM. "The goal is to help retailers attract the right customer, have a good interaction whether through the Web, kiosk or store, and ensure [that] the transaction is very robust."
Designed primarily for small to midsize retailers, as well as larger retailers who are outside the United States or have small store footprints, Jotwani said IBM AnyPlace Checkout, announced May 6, features the ultracompact footprint of the IBM AnyPlace kiosk with the transactional capabilities of IBM self-checkout software.
"To IBM, it represents the convergence of two trends," she said. "Namely, kiosks being used for different things and the proliferation of self-checkout machines. We're combining the flexibility, sleekness and pervasiveness of a kiosk with a self-checkout application and capabilities."
Jotwani said AnyPlace Checkout only accepts cashless transactions to speed checkout time and make it more convenient for the retailer and the customer. The solution is a component of the IBM Store Integration Framework and can be remotely managed, configured and monitored to fit in with an end-to-end store systems environment.
"It runs a new version of IBM CHEC [Checkout Environment for Consumer-Service] software," Jotwani said. "We focused on simplifying it and built in some very solid tool kits so a retailer or systems integrator can seamlessly integrate the application."
As part of its expanded store systems strategy, IBM also announced the launch of its new entry-level AnyPlace Kiosk, which can be used for a variety of applications or as a point-of-sale terminal.
"A lot of retailers are seeking a single-purpose device," Jotwani said. "AnyPlace Kiosk can be used as an application like a price checker or product locator. It features low power consumption and can be managed remotely."
Rob Garf, an analyst with AMR Research, said by releasing AnyPlace Checkout, IBM is "fulfilling a clear demand" by the retail industry for the ability to conduct extended POS interactions with consumers.
"Retailers may need this device not just [to execute] transactions, but [to provide] services through browsing interactions well before the customer hits the cash wrap," Garf said. "The solution also allows retailers to think about mobility in checkout. It becomes easier to reconfigure a store, run a sidewalk sale, or place a 'pop-up' store at a sporting event."
Dan Berthiaume covers the retail space for eWEEK. For more industry news, check out eWEEK.com's Retail Site.