April 5, 2002, 12:00 AM

Virgin’s web kiosks are producing conversions 3 times better than expected

The rate at which shoppers buy CDs that they’ve previewed on web-enabled kiosks in Virgin MegaStores in Boston and New York is three times what Virgin had expected. It plans to install another 100 kiosks in U.S. stores this year.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

The rate at which shoppers buy CDs that they’ve previewed on web-enabled kiosks in Virgin MegaStores in Boston and New York is three times what Virgin had expected, says Jan De Jong, vice president of information technology at Virgin Entertainment Group in Los Angeles.

Virgin installed 15 MegaPlay kiosks in a Boston store and 20 in a New York store last fall. Shoppers scan the bar code from a CD, DVD or console game and the kiosks, built by IBM Corp., link users via the Internet to the Muze Inc. database for CD previews or the Video Pipeline Inc. database for DVD and game previews.

While de Jong will not reveal details about profitability of the devices, Virgin has been pleased enough with results that it is planning to install another 100 kiosks in U.S. stores this year. The kiosks, which supplement in-store listening stations, receive 3,000 to 5,000 CD scans each per month, De Jong says.

While it cannot determine if the exact CD that was scanned was later purchased, Virgin assumes that the kiosk influenced the sale of a CD of the same title purchased within 60 minutes of being scanned.

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