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Slovenian Retailer Mercator Selects IBM Self Checkout


New Systems Developed by IBM and Mikropis Improve In-Store Traffic Flows and Increase Customer Loyalty

ARMONK, NY - 09 Feb 2007: Slovenian retail group Mercator has successfully implemented IBM (NYSE: IBM) Self Checkout solutions in its Celje store to improve in-store traffic flows, speed checkout and increase customer service and loyalty, IBM announced. This is the first implementation of this kind in South East Europe.

In Slovenia, Mercator services 1,134 stores and restaurants, with some shoppers even coming in twice a day. The need for more modern and innovative solutions emerged in order to cope with the ever-increasing number of consumers. To optimize checkout flows and adapt to fluctuating customer numbers, the company decided to install four IBM Self Checkout systems combined with existing POS systems. With its open-ended Self Checkout solution, IBM has developed a technological configuration that accepts all baskets and carts, no matter how big. This allows retailers of any size to recieve the benefits of self checkout systems.

“It was absolutely essential to make customer traffic smoother within the store by cutting down checkout waiting times and bottlenecks,” said Aleksandra Kocmut from Mercator. “We appreciate the design and technology proposed by IBM and Mikropis and we believe that it will contribute to shorter lines, increasing the number of customers and sales.”

Mercator installed IBM systems as part of a pilot project that started last summer. Checkout personnel are on hand to answer any questions, and the systems are designed to speed checkout whether a cart is full or not. The stores’ sales associates freed by the new self-checkout lanes are able to assume higher value customer service roles. IBM Self Checkout systems enable more privacy, article control without cashiers, potentially shorter lines at the pay desks and the option to pay for goods in the traditional way, which in turn improves customer satisfaction and attracts new clients.

“With IBM’s Self Checkout solutions, retailers have an alternative to traditional checkout that gives them the flexibility to better suit consumer needs. This enhances customer choice, convenience and service,” said Roman Koritnik, Territory Manager, IBM Slovenia.

Mercator’s portfolio is designed to offer faster, more reliable and adjustable chekcout options that are easy to use. It combines a standard cashier system, payment unit for payments in cash, control scales and a touch screen that offers complete support in the Slovenian language throughout the shopping process. The software was successfully tuned by IBM and business partner Mikropis.

Mercator’s new Self Checkout systems connect the existing infrastructure and improve communication within the staff, as well as between the staff and the clients. Now staff members are present at all times to facilitate traffic movement through the checkouts, as well as advise customers. Thus checkout staff are moving to more responsible tasks through a higher-value relationship with customers.

About Mercator

Mercator is one of the largest and most successful retail chains in South Eastern Europe and the leading retail chain in Slovenia. At the same time, they are establishing presence in new markets. The Mercator group is becoming the third largest food-product chain in Croatia, has a strong market position in Bosnia Herzegovina, and has also opened a large shopping centre in Serbia and Montenegro.

About IBM

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