February 21, 2002, 12:00 AM

Standing up to the retail environment

Since Virgin Megastores installed web-enabled kiosks last summer for sampling of CDs, DVDs and electronic-console games, the pilot kiosks have had availability of 99.98%, Virgin reports.

 

Since Virgin Entertainment Group’s Virgin Megastores installed web-enabled kiosks last summer for sampling of CDs, DVDs and electronic-console games, the pilot kiosks have had availability of 99.98%, Virgin reports.

Virgin has installed 20 kiosks in its Times Square Megastore in New York and 15 in its Boston Newbury store. Virgin piloted the system in Dallas and Los Angeles last summer. In the pilot, the kiosks were in use two-thirds of the hours the stores were open and generated 32,000 page views a week.

Virgin customers use the MegaPlay kiosks in to sample 250,000 CDs, 11,000 DVDs and 7,000 electronic games. Customers scan the bar code on the product. The kiosks connect to the web and downloads the requested samples to the stores. The entertainment data is provided by Muze and Video Pipeline.

Virgin is using IBM NetVista kiosks designed specifically for retail stores. The kiosks feature sealed buttons, ports and slots and powder-coated, sheet-metal enclosures to resist damage. They operate on Microsoft software. The kiosks cost $4,200 to $10,000, with volume discounts. Last month, IBM released a new version of the kiosks with faster processing ability, increased hard drive capacity and a larger touch screen.

 

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