August 12, 2008, 12:00 AM

Best Buy testing web-enabled kiosks in U.S. airports

Consumers passing the time while waiting for their flights to arrive at airports in Boston, Dallas and Los Angeles can shop at new web-enabled kiosks from Best Buy that dispense digital cameras, MP3 players, gift cards and other products.

Consumers passing the time while waiting for their flights to arrive at airports in Boston, Dallas and Los Angeles, can shop at new web-enabled kiosks from Best Buy that dispense digital cameras, MP3 players, gift cards and other products.

The Best Buy Express service, using self-service ZoomShop kiosks provided and managed over the Internet by San Francisco-based ZoomSystems, is undergoing a pilot test as a way to extend the retailer’s reach, the retailer says. The kiosks consist of touch-screen computer screens that let shoppers find and choose products available in the kiosk through a user interface similar to that of an e-commerce web site. Entering debit or credit card information activates the kiosk (after credit authorization over the Internet) to dispense the chosen product into a tray. When a shopper grabs the item from the tray, optical sensors trigger the payment card transaction over the Internet.

“The launch of Best Buy Express is another way for Best Buy to provide consumers with the products they need from a brand they trust, even while they’re on-the-go,” says Chris Stidman, vice president of strategic planning for Best Buy. “Whether travelers are looking to purchase a last-minute gift or are in need of replacement for a lost, forgotten or broken product, these kiosks will allow them to purchase the product they want from a brand they trust.”

Best Buy is offering products including digital cameras, cell phone and computer accessories, MP3 players, headphones, speakers, portable gaming devices, gift cards, travel adapters and electronic chargers.

ZoomSystems manages the digital content on the kiosk computer screens, including pricing and product details, through an Internet connection to a central database. It also manages the stocking of each kiosk, helps Best Buy and other clients plan product assortments, and handles customer service and product returns, a ZoomSystems spokeswoman says.

ZoomSystems has deployed more than 650 ZoomShop kiosks in airports and other locations throughout the U.S. for clients including Macy’s Inc., Sony Corp. and Apple Inc., the spokeswoman says.


Best Buy is No. 12 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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