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IBM To Power Shopping Carts

David Utter
Expert Author
Published: 2005-05-04

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The Armonk-based tech company wants to help you shop by providing your cart with a touch screen shopping buddy.

Forget about standing in line at the deli with the rest of the crowd. From a touch screen on your shopping cart, you can let the deli know you want three-quarters of a pound of prosciutto sliced real thin and pick it up before you check out.

IBM's entry into the shopping cart computing space debuted at the supermarket industry's annual convention in Chicago.

Guided by GPS technology, the shopping buddy can guide you to items in the store. It can also keep track of how much you'll spend at the checkout aisle based on what you put in the cart.

"It helps save you time, and it helps save you money. It's all about making it easy for you," IBM executive Ken Lawler said.

Unsurprisingly, the touch screens will display advertising as you shop. But the advertising will not be overwhelming or intrusive.

"The whole model is driven by advertisers' need to get in front of consumers," said Springboard spokesman Michael Alexandor. "They're not watching 30-second TV ads anymore." Springboard offers a competing product to IBM's and will test it in Canadian stores this summer.

The touch screens offer a customer more than just extra help in the store. At home, a customer can upload a shopping list to a grocery's web site, where it would be linked to the customer cards many stores now issue.

At the store, the touch screen reads the card and downloads the shopping list. Then as you shop, you scan bar codes for each item you place in the cart.

When you check out, you swipe your customer card, pay for the purchases, bag them and depart.

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About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

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