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Being the first in the music segment with such a device may mean having to educate consumers first, but Virgin also believes it will give Virgin Megastores a selling edge. Having the MegaPlay kiosks in place will differentiate Virgin from its competitors, although the company expects others to follow in its footsteps eventually. “It is possible for competitors to follow us with this technology,” says De Jong.
So far, no other music stores offer web kiosk access to entire store inventories. But the kiosks are a point of differentiation and others are sure to follow. “When a retailer is trying to differentiate itself in the entertainment sector, image and customer loyalty are key,” says Ken Keating, manager of IBM retail store solutions strategy and business development. “The kiosks are popular. They’re improved Virgin’s image.” Says KPMG Consulting’s Hoeller: “This will take off in the audio media segment.”