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News Release

Contact: Jonathan Kennedy 0141 572 1556/07799 768968
Lara Bayley 0141 572 1556/07803 892818

5 September 2000

Virgin revolutionises retailing with ePOINT in major High Street rollout programme

Extended Virgin range to be delivered nationwide through ePOINT interactive terminals

Virgin Entertainment Group has announced the launch of V Shop, a radical retailing concept incorporating the most advanced technology, including ePOINT Ltd's state of the art interactive terminals.

The innovative Scottish technology company has won an initial multi-million pound contract to install around 500 ePOINTs in the 101 V Shops set to open before Christmas. The first of these stores was launched by Richard Branson yesterday in Notting Hill, London.

The V Shop experience is an ingenious fusion of on-line and in-store shopping. Stores will stock CDs, DVDs, games and digital hardware such as MP3, DVD, Walkman and Mini Disc players, plus the entire range of Virgin Mobile phones.

On top of this, each ePOINT will give customers a gateway to an extended range of products and services. As well as offering an even wider choice of the core V Shop product lines - including 110 000 CDs and DVDs - the ePOINTs will also be portals to a range of Virgin's online businesses, including Virgin Wines, Virgin Cars, Virgin Travel, Virgin Students and Virgin Net.

"We believe we have achieved a worldwide first in using this kind of technology as a core retail platform," commented Kevin O'Brien, IT Director of Our Price. "While others are tentatively playing at it, we're really going for it - other retailers have tried using electronic kiosks as bolt-ons to their main business, but the ePOINT terminals are fundamental to the V Shop concept.

"As demand for premium retail space sends costs spiralling, we have cut out the need for expensive floorspace by creating a 'big little store' with 'elastic walls' which can offer product ranges so large and diverse that no physical store could ever stock them."

He continued: "This is a ground breaking project for us. We are moving very fast and each day opens up possibilities that we haven't even thought of yet. We're looking forward to seeing the impact of this initial launch phase and then looking at what we can do to deliver even better and more exciting services to our customers."

V Shop customers using the ePOINT will be greeted with a welcome screen, from which they can browse through the products and services on offer online through the easy to use touchscreen or by using a keyboard, depending on what they prefer. Customers can then choose to pay through the kiosk or at the shop till.

"The terminals aren't just shopping interfaces, they're a platform for the Virgin brand," added Kevin O'Brien. "Because of this, we wanted a state of the art solution. A terminal which looks superb - an attraction in its own right, not a bulky unattractive box. We also insisted on a terminal that is robust and resilient. And of course, one that our customers find a pleasure to use! We chose ePOINT because it offers the ultimate in design and reliability and meets all of these criteria. This company is enormously innovative, with top level design and development expertise."

Gordon Venters, Managing Director of ePOINT Ltd, said: "So far, web-based shopping has been delivered into the home and office, but not yet properly integrated into the environment where people actually shop. This project is revolutionising the consumer shopping experience by bringing the scope of the internet on to the High Street, and where the physical and online retail experiences meet, we believe that the sum will definitely be greater than the parts. In terms of the ePOINT's potential, this is just the tip of the iceberg. We're looking at a host of new possibilities which will combine to break the traditional retailing mould and reinvent the High Street."

For further information, contact:

Jonathan Kennedy - TVI Lara Bayley - TVI Gordon Venters - ePOINT
0141 572 1556/07799 768968 0141 572 1556/07803 892818 01259 753300/07970 518013

Notes to editors:

  • Photography is available to accompany this release
  • Based in Alloa, Scotland, ePOINT Limited is a company with a strong track record of product design and development. Recognised as an innovative force in shaping technology to create solutions which enable businesses and public organisations to enhance the experience of their customers, ePOINT is focused on developing and delivering interactive technology solutions to clients in the retail, finance and leisure markets

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