SOURCE: IBM

September 20, 2005 08:30 ET

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

NEW YORK , NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- September 20, 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.

About Virgin Entertainment Group

Virgin Entertainment Group is the world's leading multi-channel music and entertainment retailer, providing customers with a range of superior entertainment experiences through a family of integrated Virgin-branded businesses. The "category killer" Virgin Megastores and Virgin Megastore Online at www.virginmega.com are integral parts of a strategy to provide entertainment customers with what they want, how they want it, and when they want it. For more information, or to check out the location of the nearest Virgin retail, go to www.virginmega.com

About the IBM Anyplace Kiosk

The IBM Anyplace Kiosk, which is the size of a flat-panel monitor, offers retailers a cost-effective opportunity to install an informational kiosk "anyplace" in the store, whether in the aisle, on the wall, beside a demo or on a store end cap. With the capability to show full-screen video as well as high quality sound, the kiosks can deliver a variety of applications also including production information, self-ordering in restaurants and unattended check-in for hotel guests.

The Kiosk combines a 1.3GHz processor, advanced infrared (IR) touch screen display and optional peripherals in a slim, tapered design. The IBM Anyplace Kiosk offers retailers an "on demand" solution by delivering services to the customer at the point of decision. With the unprecedented flexibility of placement, shoppers have more choices than ever before while walking through store aisles and browsing merchandise.

About IBM:


IBM, the world's largest information technology and business services company, is the leader in providing the Retail Industry with a full range of e-business solutions, including: point-of-sale systems, automated self-checkout systems, other hardware and software technology, consulting focused on business transformation, IT strategy and planning, store operations improvement, and supply chain optimization, and with services, such as outsourcing, managed operations, systems integration, and application development and design. IBM has a list of retail customers in 100 countries worldwide that reads like a "Who's Who" of retailing. For more information on IBM Retail Solutions, please visit http://www.ibm.com/industries/retail

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