IBM Smarter Checkout lets third-parties target customers more

Summary:New checkout technology from IBM has the potential to help retailers while annoying customers.

IBM has introduced its new Smarter Checkout solution, which is designed to enable retailers to provide customers with a personalized, interactive experience.

Running on a composition of IBM systems, software and services, examples of where this could be applied range from supermarket checkout lanes to the movie box office. IBM promises that this set-up should be easy for customers and retailers alike being that it is a scalable system that should add future services with close to "plug and play" simplicity.

There's also a major mobile component to this. Smarter Checkout allows mobile device owners to scan orders, redeem digital coupons, tally rewards points, and pay for purchases at IBM self-service pay counters.

However, there's a big catch. The personalization really comes in the form of targeted third-party products and services offered to consumers at checkout based on their purchases.

One the one hand, this is great for retailers who want to learn more about their customers in real-time while also beefing up advertising and partnerships with other businesses.

The obvious downside could end up plaguing the consumers. As if we don't get attacked by unwarranted third-party offers enough via email, now these messages are going to be popping up all over smartphones that support Smarter Checkout.

Of course, this has the potential to benefit customers as well. Other items, such as lottery tickets, could be bought at these stations when purchasing other items at a store.

Additionally, when taking rewards points into account, customers might automatically be treated to complimentary products and services. But how often is that going to come about in comparison to more pop-up messages and advertising?

IBM Smarter Checkout for 4690 is available now via the IBM Retail Store Solutions Global Services network.


Topics: Tablets, Banking, Cloud, Hardware, IBM, Laptops, Mobility, Servers, Virtualization


Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider,, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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