April 06, 2010

Healthcare Kiosks - Supermarket Stores

Kroger is pilot-testing a two-pronged health-and-wellness program that includes a kiosk that lets shoppers determine physical attributes, such as body mass index, and offers nutritional advice.

The retail food chain has named its LC600 Health Station kiosk "LUCY." It is part of Kroger’s new 'Health Matters at Kroger' initiative, aimed at helping shoppers make healthy food purchases and track personal health information.

Using LUCY and an online account created at the retailer’s site, shoppers can determine weight, blood pressure, blood oxygen and other health statistics, as well as track how those stats change over time.

The Health Matters at Kroger effort also incorporates a pilot of the NuVal nutrition rating system. Deployed earlier this month at 23 locations in central Kentucky, NuVal features shelf tags that provide scores from 1 (for the least healthy foods) to 100 (for the healthiest foods) on the grocer's shelves.

“Many of our customers have told us they want to make healthier choices for their families, and we have listened,” said Kroger spokesman Tim McGurk in an article published by The (Lexington, Ky.) Herald-Leader.

The Herald-Leader reports that Kroger has not set a firm time period for the pilot, but McGurk says the chain is already gauging shopper interest and participation via its online service.

rest of article on ssw

Posted by staff at 08:45 AM

July 30, 2009

NCR Self-Checkout Earns Design Award

NCR SelfServ Checkout earned a bronze award in the IDEA program's Commercial and Industrial Products category. The latest evolution of the company's successful line of self-checkout offerings, the NCR SelfServ Checkout is the only self-service technology solution named in this year's competition.

DULUTH, Georgia - July 29, 2009 - The newest version of NCR SelfServ Checkout, the market-leading self-checkout solution from NCR Corporation, is among the 2009 winners of the International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) competition.

Created in 1980 by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), The IDEA program is the premier international competition honoring design excellence in products, ecodesign, interaction design, packaging, strategy, research and concepts. The competition is sponsored by Autodesk, Target and BusinessWeek magazine, which has reported on the program since 1990.

NCR SelfServ Checkout earned a bronze award in the IDEA program's Commercial and Industrial Products category. The latest evolution of the company's successful line of self-checkout offerings, the NCR SelfServ Checkout is the only self-service technology solution named in this year's competition.

"This IDEA award is further testimony to NCR's leadership and competitive advantage in self-service technology, built on our years of experience and extensive knowledge base, both of which are unmatched in the industry," said NCR Engineering and Development Vice President Jeff Cegalis. "It reflects outstanding teamwork among talented and dedicated NCR employees in solutions management, hardware design, software design and human factors engineering."

The award-winning NCR SelfServ Checkout enables consumers to scan, bag and pay for goods on their own using cash, debit or credit, including the increasingly popular contactless payment cards. It incorporates a number of features designed to enhance customers' shopping experience, while helping retailers maximize productivity, minimize costs and promote their store brand.

A natural curve on the front of the unit is designed to be inviting to shoppers, while the low profile allows stores to better monitor service and consumer activity. Animated lead-though software and "follow-me" lighting at various points on the device help provide a feeling of confidence to consumers, guiding them through each step of the checkout process.

The modular design of NCR SelfServ Checkout partitions the core scanning and tendering functions from the unloading and bagging functions; this helps provide built-in investment protection by enabling retailers to readily upgrade and modify the configuration after installation. Retailers can even select a specific color for NCR SelfServ Checkout to match their stores' décor. The unit can be re-colored simply by replacing its outside cosmetic panels.

To help make payment transactions more user-friendly, cash inputs/outputs are arranged side by side, while an oversized bulk coin drop bowl allows consumers to pay with coins by the handful rather than one at a time. NCR SelfServ Checkout includes standard integrated coin recycling, as well as available integrated bill recycling. Recycling allows the cash and coins consumers insert during a purchase to later be issued as change. This function enables retailers to invest fewer resources in cash management and requires less currency at the beginning of daily operation.

Moreover, NCR SelfServ Checkout is equipped with the NCR RealPOS™ high performance bi-optic scanner/scale, which was designed specifically to help make self-checkout scanning even more quick and accessible for consumers. An LED display on the top of the scanner provides intuitive visual feedback to the user, and is particularly helpful for hearing-impaired individuals.

Finally, NCR SelfServ Checkout includes a variety of features designed to support retailers' commitment to the environment. The NCR RealPOS two-sided thermal receipt printer, a standard feature in each unit, prints on both sides of receipts, reducing paper consumption by up to 40 percent. This can result in less energy being consumed during paper production and distribution, as well as reductions in waste disposal, air emissions and wastewater. In addition, an "own bag" button allows shoppers to use their reusable bags. The solution also allows stores to use low-energy compact fluorescent bulbs in the lane lights.

About the Industrial Designers Society of America
The Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) is the voice of industrial design, committed to advancing the profession through education, information, community and advocacy. Industrial designers determine the form, use features and interaction qualities of manufactured products, packaging and digital media systems. They study people at work, at home and in motion to create satisfying experiences with products from the kitchen and the office to the hospital and the warehouse, shaping these to fit their customers and to make effective use of industrial processes. In this way, industrial designers have a quiet but profound presence in almost everything people encounter during the day.

About NCR Corporation
NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) is a global technology company leading how the world connects, interacts and transacts with business. NCR's assisted- and self-service solutions and comprehensive support services address the needs of retail, financial, travel, healthcare, hospitality, entertainment, gaming and public sector organizations in more than 100 countries. NCR (www.ncr.com) is headquartered in Duluth, Georgia.


Posted by staff at 11:21 AM

August 11, 2004

Lottery Kiosks

H-E-B Getting Lottery Kiosks

AUGUST 11, 2004 -- SAN ANTONIO, Texas - The H.E. Butt Grocery Co., headquartered here, has teamed up with the Texas Lottery Commission, which is in the process of installing self-service touchscreen lottery dispensers at about approximately 200 of the supermarket chain's stores across Texas.

H-E-B has about 283 stores in the state. Around 30 locations currently have the terminals, which let players select among Lotto Texas, Mega Millions, Texas Two Step, Cash 5, and Pick 3. This is the companys first foray into selling lottery tickets.

Echoing comments H-E-B director of public affairs Greg Flores made in the San Antonio Express-News, Bobby Heith, director of media relations for the Texas Lottery Commission, told Progressive Grocer that the dispensers were a good fit for H-E-B, as the chain doesn't delegate personnel to sell lottery tickets to customers. With the convenient self-service kiosks, which Heith said have garnered "great feedback" from players, H-E-B can now sell lottery tickets without hiring more associates or diverting current employees from other tasks. According to Heith, the commission has been in contact with other Texas grocers, including Brookshire Grocery Co., Brookshire Brothers, and "maybe even Randalls and Albertsons."

Speculating about expanding to all H-E-B stores in Texas, Heith said, "I'm sure we will. . .if sales warrant the purchase of more machines." Total Texas lottery revenues have exceeded the $11 billion mark, the commission said earlier this year.

Lottery critic Dawn Nettles, publisher of the Garland, Texas-based Lotto Report, told Progressive Grocer that a major problem with the kiosks was that stores frequently placed them where they couldnt be shut off or closely watched, thereby allowing minors to operate the devices. "It's up to the retailer to see that tickets are sold legally," maintained Nettles, whose watchdog group is filming kiosk areas to find out how often underage players use them. She explained that this strategy was not meant to punish retailers but to show how they and the players were actually being hurt by the lottery.

The H-E-B terminals are part of the commission's initial installation of 1,000 dispensers at selected retail locations this year. A retailer gets five cents for each ticket sold and 1 percent of a winning ticket up to $500,000.

H-E-B Getting Lottery Kiosks

Posted by Craig at 05:06 PM

December 09, 2003

Modern Supermarkets

Several computer kiosks are located throughout the center of the store, offering information about almost anything: Wine and food parings, information about diabetes, recipes, a map of the store sale items and more.

Story Link

New Marsh in Noblesville: Grocery Goes Modern

By Laura Hawkins
Daily Times

The new Marsh Supermarket opening Monday at the corner of 146th Street and State Road 37 is utterly different than any other grocery store in Hamilton County.

According to Marsh spokespersons, its actually unlike any grocery store in the country.

A tour

When customers first arrive, they will enter a large glass entrance that leads them to the vast heart of the store a circular open-air environment filled with fresh produce and lined with windows. A coffee shop, which boasts everything from peppermint hot chocolate to freshly ground coffee, anchors the room as do two chef stations, where at least one full-time culinary expert will be providing samples to customers daily.

Noticeably missing is the aisle-after-aisle layout typical of most grocery stores.

Instead of one massive, large box, vice president of Community Relations Jodi Marsh explained, the new design is meant to capture the essence of European markets. It has a more homey, small boutique feel, she added.

As patrons move toward the perimeter of the central area, it appears as though the store is lined with small shops. Clearly marked by signs atop each entrance, what likely would have been an aisle has become a whole room devoted to a certain food grouping.

There are such sections as Dairy, Frozen, Wine, Beer, Seafood, Bakery, Pharmacy, Bath and Body and the like. Once done shopping inside the room, the customers do not have to wheel their carts back to the center, but they can follow the aisle that runs like a track around the store, linking each separate room. The rooms also are clearly marked along the circular aisle, showing customers which section they are entering and which are coming up.

The whole idea is to make it a friendly shopping experience, commented Matt Pierce of Marshs community relations department. Youre never lost.

Responding to suggestions

Several years ago, Marsh started studying how people shop, Pierce said.

In older Marsh stores, the deli meat is located on the opposite side of the grocery store from the cheese. But since many people would want both to make sandwiches and the like they now both sit in the deli area.

The new store basically responds to the comments shoppers have been offering for years, Pierce noted.

Why dont you do this, he often heard from customers. We finally did it.

Other conveniences boasted by the 66,000-square-foot store include a drive-through pharmacy, a frozen food section that does not freeze its visitors and wider aisles so there are fewer grocery cart traffic jams.

Tons of technology

Technology is a big part of what Marsh said makes this facility unique.

Theres a lot going on in there, she said.

Several computer kiosks are located throughout the center of the store, offering information about almost anything: Wine and food parings, information about diabetes, recipes, a map of the store sale items and more.

Pierce explained that when shoppers scan their Marsh Fresh Idea cards at a terminal, special discounts that only apply to them are listed. The discounts are based on what that person usually purchases, which is tracked every time they have their Fresh Idea card swiped during checkout.

Shoppers then can print out the list of discounts and refer to it while they shop.

Slightly different kiosks can be found in the different sections of the store; they offer more department-specific information. Marsh said that if a person is looking for produce, for example, they can look up how to pick the most fresh or most ripe cantaloupe. It also holds recipes that can be printed out and used for that nights dinner.

A third type of computer is mounted along the aisles in each section. Anyone who scans their Fresh Idea card will be able to see what is on sale in that area.

Four flat screen televisions are mounted in the central area of the supermarket alerting shoppers of various specials and promotions occurring in the store. One of the first items shown Monday will be a notice of flu shots, which are being offered by the store from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. next Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

When its time to pay, shoppers have the option of self- or full-service check-out.

Starting a trend

Don Marsh has traveled the world and has great ideas, Jodi Marsh said, adding he "always been known as a visionary.

Part of that vision is to expand the supermarkets reach into the Chicago area using the same floor plan as the new Noblesville store.

This is a flagship store for us, Marsh said, adding, we wanted it to be close to home.

Were excited about launching it here in our backyard.

The next Lifestyle Supermarket will open in Ft. Wayne, Ind. in early 2004.

Already several trade magazines have contacted the home-grown supermarket company about its new design, and Marsh said it will be featured in coming editions, though she didnt know the specific publications.


In addition to bringing a new shopping experience to the area, Marsh also has created 200 new jobs and already is offering fund-raising opportunities for the community.

A community donation fountain will be located in the entrance/exit area of the store. Money thrown into the fountain will be collected for the Salvation Army the month of December, but each following month, a different local community will received the proceeds.

Monday, Don Marsh also is expected to present a $10,000 check to the Salvation Army.

The first 200 shoppers also will receive a treat: a goody bag filled with complementary items and coupons.

The grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting begins at 9 a.m.

Posted by Craig at 03:18 PM

December 06, 2003

Self-Serve Checkouts at Denver-Area Grocery Stores Don't Take New $20 Bills

Eight weeks after being introduced, the new security features intended to thwart counterfeiters continue to vex self-serve machines at King Soopers stores and at RTD light-rail stations.

December 05, 2003 18:46

Self-Serve Checkouts at Denver-Area Grocery Stores Don't Take New $20 Bills
Jump to first matched term

By Louis Aguilar, The Denver Post

Dec. 5--You can use the new $20 bill to play the slots at mountain casinos or to buy a book of stamps from a self-service machine. But for now, forget about using the colorful notes in the self-serve checkout line at some grocery stores or in ticket kiosks at light-rail stations.

Eight weeks after being introduced, the new security features intended to thwart counterfeiters continue to vex self-serve machines at King Soopers stores and at RTD light-rail stations.

"The self-service industry is relatively new and expanding rapidly," said Dawn Haley, U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing spokeswoman. "I think some of (the manufacturers) understood the message, and others made a conscious decision not to be ready." A year before the new bills went into circulation, the feds reached out to vending machine manufacturers, including the makers of slot machines, to help them get ready for the changes.

Although most retailers and vendors were ready for the switch, technology glitches and equipment delays thwarted some of the best laid plans.

The new $20 has an array of new features, including a watermark image ingrained into the paper and color-shifting ink, which changes from copper to green when the bill is tilted against light.

What that meant for King Soopers customer Bob Hoffpauir, 49, on Tuesday was that his $20 bill was spit right back out after he slid it into the self-serve cashier machine. He had to rely on a clerk at the West 13th Avenue and Speer Boulevard store to complete his purchase.

"This is the first time I had a problem with them. It's no big deal," Hoffpauir said.

The glitch is trickier to fix than anticipated.

"There wasn't supposed to be a problem," Regional Transportation District spokesman Scott Reed said of the trouble at light-rail kiosks.

The German makers of the light-rail ticket machines, Scheidt & Bachmann, installed new software that was supposed to enable the kiosks to accept the new bill.

That change corrupted the machines' hard drives instead. Scheidt & Bachmann promised the repairs would be completed by mid-November, Reed said.

"Now, we're having trouble getting our phone calls returned," Reed said.

Calls to Scheidt & Bachmann's U.S. office in Burlington, Mass., were not returned to The Denver Post this week. The manufacturer is covering the cost of the repairs, Reed said.

Machines at two metro Albertsons stores that didn't accept the new bills early last week were functioning by Wednesday.

Spokesman Trail Daugherty said computer chips to correct problems with King Soopers' self-serve cashier machines were delayed.

"But we have received the chips this week, and we hope to install them into the machines immediately," Daugherty said.

It may take several weeks to reach all the King Soopers stores, Daugherty said.

Most customers seemed to take the hitch in stride.

"These things (automatic payment machines) are so testy," said RTD light-rail customer Caroletta Howard, 32, as she waited at the Colfax-Auraria stop Tuesday morning. "I'm happy when they take any of my dollars."


To see more of The Denver Post, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.denverpost.com

Posted by Craig at 03:07 PM

October 10, 2003

The Shopping Buddy

Wireless technology makes food shopping easier
Stop & Shop and CueSol, a Massachusetts-based technology consultant, have teamed up to create a "shopping buddy," a cart-based wireless shopping aide that aims to speed and simplify the food-shopping experience. Available in three Stop & Shops in suburban Boston, the system links the retailer's loyalty card and the shopping history it collects to a computer touch screen that performs several functions, including keeping a running total, identifying sales items and suggesting food combinations.

Story Link

The Shopping Buddy-
By David Pinto

QUINCY, Mass. A groundbreaking, technology-powered food-shopping revolution is gathering momentum in the suburbs of Boston, an advance, powered by a cart-based wireless shopping aide, that is irrevocably transforming the supermarket experience. The breakthrough is being driven by Stop & Shop Cos. and its partner, CueSol, a Quincybased technology consultant.

The revolution turns on the use of a wireless, web-enabled shopping buddy to speed and simplify the food-shopping experience. As now practiced in three Stop & Shop supermarkets in suburban Boston, including the most-recent addition in the retailers Quincy store, it dwarfs anything that has preceded it including the much-touted future store unveiled last summer in Germany by retailer Metro AG.

The Stop & Shop shopping buddy relies on wireless technology to walk and talk the customer through the shopping experience. More specifically, it utilizes the retailers loyalty card and the shopping history it collects, linking the card and its personal shopper history to an 8-inch by 11-inch tablet that houses an 8.5-inch computer touch screen. At the Quincy store the shopper enables the system by retrieving a tablet from a dispensing rack at either of the stores two entrances, setting it into a specially designed handle on her shopping cart and activating it by scanning her loyalty card across the units bar code reader.

Once enabled, the touch-screen does indeed function as a shopping buddy. The wireless browser and ceiling-embedded sensors enable the tablet to send and receive data that speeds and simplifies the shopping experience. Some examples:

As the customer begins to shop, she is alerted as to which items in the retailers weekly circular she has previously purchased and might want to buy again while they are on sale. She also is informed of products that, though not on sale, are being offered to her at a special price because her shopping profile indicates a preference for these items. Finally, as shopper and cart wend their way through the store, sale merchandise and items of possible interest (based on the shoppers purchasing profile) in the aisles currently being shopped are highlighted on the computer screen. As the customer fills the shopping bags in her cart and scans the items the running total is recorded on the computer, as well as the amount saved by buying sales items. Perhaps most revolutionary, the customer does not need to unload the cart or empty her shopping bags at the conclusion of the shopping trip. Because the products have been scanned as they were selected, the shopper need only pay the amount recorded on the computer screen, which she is encouraged to do electronically, at a self-checkout register. As she does, her shopping history is updated. Should the customer want to purchase products from the service deli during her shopping trip, she can do so without stopping by the often-crowded deli. Rather, she can order the items directly from the computer screen, which not only instructs her on the selection of products (and reminds her which items she purchased on her last trip, personally or electronically, to the deli counter) but also helps her determine quantities and, in the case of deli meats, the thickness of the slices. As the customer completes her deli order, the computer assigns the order a number. When the order is ready for pickup, the computer screen notifies her by order number. If the customer needs to locate a product, she has only to type in the products name. The computer announces the aisle location, then reminds her when she reaches that aisle.

What weve tried to do is simplify and personalize the shopping experience and make it fun, says Mike Grimes, vice president of sales and marketing for CueSol. We believe weve succeeded.

The system has certainly succeeded in simplifying and personalizing the shopping experience, primarily by customizing the experience to the shoppers purchasing history. In that way, it continuously reminds the customer of the products she might need and those which she has possibly forgotten, based on her past purchases.

It also is a master at marketing and suggestive selling, reminding the customer, for example, that the eggs she has just purchased might go well with the ham currently on sale. Equally impressive, it condenses for the customer the 8- or 16-page weekly circular, highlighting for each electronic shopper only those products that shopper is known to have previously purchased and displaying them on the computer screen (along with items specially selected for her) as the customer activates the tablet.

The hurdles thus far uncovered in the three-store test are those common to any new technology. Foremost among them is getting the customer to use the tablet.

Some 20% of the customers at the Quincy store use the system, points out Stop & Shop technical support staffer Maryann Sclafani. What weve found is that the first time a customer uses it shes confused, the second time shes comfortable and by the third time shes ready to teach other shoppers how to use it.

To help, Stop & Shop has redshirted employees circulating throughout the store ready to offer assistance.

Another potential drawback is the often-compelling nature of the constantly changing body of information and purchase inducements to which the shopper is exposed, a flood of data capable of easily distracting the customer from her primary job of doing the shopping she entered the store to do.

Then too, the system only makes sense when used in conjunction with the retailers loyalty card, though Sclafani notes that 90% of the stores customers already possess a loyalty card. Most customers carry loyalty cards from all the supermarkets in the area, she explains. One objective of this system is to encourage the loyalty-card shopper who uses Stop & Shop as a secondary supermarket to begin using us as her primary supermarket.

The retailer plans to test the system in the three Boston-area stores on into next year before determining whether and when to roll it out to the entire chain.

Meanwhile, it is by far the closest that supermarket retailing has come to simplifying the always-tedious and sometimesdaunting food-shopping experience, and turning a chore into an exercise closely resembling a pleasant experience.

Posted by Craig at 06:44 PM