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Groupon unveils iPad-based checkout system

Groupon Inc.’s newest deal is for retailers: an all-in-one cash register that recognizes Groupon customers when they walk into their store, redeems Groupon offers and handles credit card transactions.

The Chicago-based ecommerce company on Monday unveiled Gnome, a tablet-based platform that will link merchants and Groupon customers, and eventually connect with businesses’ accounting software packages.

“Gnome is an amazing piece of technology that plugs our merchants into the Web and helps them form relationships with every customer that walks in their front door,” Groupon CEO Eric Lefkofsky said. “When it’s complete, Gnome will serve as an operating system for merchants to run their entire operation and enable them to create real-time promotions that bring customers into their business when they need them the most.”

Groupon says Gnome will automatically redeem Groupon deals using Bluetooth technology, eliminating the need for customers to print vouchers or show their mobile devices. It also will let merchants customize marketing campaigns using customers’ buying histories and preferences.

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