Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Scanning For Deals

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A sample IBM self-checkout system. In partnership with Honeywell, a new smartphone application will let shoppers scan items as they move through the store, then check out themselves using a similar IBM self-checkout system.

One of my first jobs in school was bagging groceries at a local grocery store.  The irony was, it was one of those grocery stories where you were supposed to sack your own groceries, and, presumably, save some money doing so.

But the store was so popular when it first opened that it had its store assistants sack groceries to help move the lines along.

Those were the days when they didn’t have the fancy scanners — everything was still checked by hand.

So when I saw this announcement this morning IBM made that allows consumers to scan items as they move through the store, all I could think about was the Jetsons.

This new retail technology not only allows consumers to scan items with their mobile phones as they move about the store, it then lets them check themselves out at an IBM self-checkout station (yes, those exist today, but not with technology that allows consumers to scan the items as they’re shopping!)

Designed to help retailers provide a more customized in-store shopping experience for smart phone shoppers, the IBM Mobile Shopper application incorporates Honeywell mobile scanning technology capable of scanning virtually any bar code, no matter what background it is printed on, the direction it faces, or the packaging covering it.

The solution currently runs on the Google Android and Apple iOS operating systems.

According to a recent IBM Institute of Business Value study, self checkout is the preferred way to shop for most consumers today, and they are very specific about the way they want to use mobile technology while shopping.

More than 50 percent say they want to use a mobile device to scan while shopping, and to do final checkout at a self-checkout station.  More than 40 percent want to scan samples and retrieve shopping items for pickup, or have the items delivered directly to their homes.

“Retailers can now deliver a more personalized shopping experience that is less of a chore and more of a convenience for consumers,” says John Gaydac, vice president, IBM Retail Store Solutions.  “By enabling consumers to scan and check-out a wide variety of products at their own pace, retailers can not only create a more customized shopping environment, but also increase in-store traffic.”

The new mobile phone application is powered by IBM ACE Store Integrator software and the newest release of IBM Self-Checkout software, which provides shoppers the same access to digital coupons, loyalty programs and special promotions at self-checkout stations that is traditionally available at fully-staffed point-of-sale checkout lanes.

The IBM Mobile Shopper, or “digital shopping assistant,” incorporates Honeywell’s high-performance SwiftDecoder Mobile bar code decoding software, one of many patented technologies that have helped secure the company’s  leadership in camera-based bar code decoding.  Among them is the practice of decoding bar code-related information from a real-time video image, such as the display of a smart phone or other mobile device (U.S. patent 6,015,088).

The IBM Mobile Shopper solution with Honeywell mobile scanning is available immediately.

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