- On October 26, 2021
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If you walk into a fast food restaurant, movie theater, or grocery store today, there’s a high chance you will encounter some kind of self-service technology. As digital signage technology continues to improve and is more commonly implemented in all kinds of businesses, many business owners are looking into investing in interactive self-service kiosks. With a digital signage market that is full of innovative technology options, business owners want answers and guidance. In this blog, we’re breaking down the details you need to know about interactive kiosks.
What are Interactive Self-service Kiosks?
If you’re unclear on what a self-service kiosk is, the good news is that you’ve probably used one before. Think of the self-checkout aisle in grocery stores, ticket kiosks at public transportation stations, or the fast-food restaurants that have integrated self-service kiosks for placing food orders.
In 2021, kiosks are not exactly new, so you’ve likely encountered a range of kiosk models, features, and quality of technology. But at its core, an interactive self-service kiosk provides customers with a digital interface that allows them to self-order or interact with your business or organization in some way.
A good self-ordering kiosk should be user-friendly, it should allow guests to customize orders, pay for their purchase, and print a receipt. Because the point of sale (POS) is a kiosk, this technology tends to increase rates of up-selling and allows employees to do their job better.
Common Use Cases for Self-service Kiosk Solutions
Self-service kiosks are not all the same, and breaking down the different types of kiosk options out there is not as simple as comparing outdoor vs. indoor signage. Kiosks come in many different forms, sizes, and use cases. Some of those use cases include:
- Restaurants: Restaurants are a very popular business for implementing kiosks. Interactive kiosks in restaurants allow consumers to place orders efficiently in an environment that might typically be difficult to manage. Because of the fast pace and high demands of the food industry, interactive kiosks have proven to be a great fit.
- Retail or Grocery Stores: Nearly every major grocery store chain has a self-check-out aisle with kiosks that have a simple user experience, barcode scanners, credit card readers, and more. The high demand for this technology has driven its continuous improvement, which doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
- Wayfinding: Wayfinding kiosks provide guests with better ease of navigation in large locations like malls, college campuses, stadiums, hospitals, etc. This technology can also serve as an information kiosk that provides information on where to find a specific retailer or place of interest.
- Public Transportation Hubs: Centers of transportation like bus stops, train stations, and airports are ideal locations for self-service kiosks. With the hustle and bustle of a commuter’s lifestyle, they need the quickest and easiest way to consume information on the go. Without the integration of kiosks at most major airports, getting through customs would be much more time-consuming. In addition, ticket kiosks at train stations and bus stops are an opportunity for unique customization options that fit the needs of commuters, such as the integration of phone charging stations into interactive kiosks.
- Theaters: It’s common for movie theaters to utilize self-service kiosks to alleviate service needs at their concession counters and ticket booths. With a digital kiosk option, movie theater guests get to customize their food orders and walk away with a positive theater experience.
- Healthcare Facilities: The healthcare industry is another sector that has integrated self-service kiosk technology in recent years. Interactive kiosks at hospitals and other healthcare facilities have improved the convenience of check-in and provided a much-needed limited contact option throughout the pandemic.
- Stadiums: Stadiums during any kind of event are easily one of the most chaotic places to navigate, and having food service and payment kiosks available to place orders increases efficiency and drastically improves customer experience.
Benefits of Interactive Self Service Kiosks
While the dynamic use cases of interactive kiosks may have already highlighted some powerful arguments for integrating this technology, history has given us more measured results of their benefits:
- Improved Order Accuracy: As efficient and hard-working as employees are, human error is unavoidable, which is why businesses account for occasional mistakes. The advantage of self-service kiosks is that the customer is responsible for their own order details and customizations, which takes the pressure of constant accuracy off of employees. While cashiers still need to service the customers who want in-person service rather than a kiosk, the presence of kiosks decreases the workload of cashiers, allowing them to perform better.
- Update Digital Content in Real-time: The Content Management System that comes with your self-service kiosk provides you and your employees with an easy-to-use platform to quickly and efficiently alter prices, menu items, promote special offers, etc in one centralized digital space. With the option for cloud-based digital signage systems, you can easily access and make instant changes to your content while you’re on the go, as long as you have an internet connection.
- Increase Up-selling: Kiosks, and digital signage in general, tend to show a higher rate of up-selling than in-person service because digital messaging can promote additional products and offers in an unobtrusive and low-pressure format.
- Reduce Labor Costs: The efficiency of self-service kiosks takes the workload off of your employees and even allows you to decrease your need for employee labor at the register.
- Better ADA Accessibility: The positive impact of self service kiosks extends to all demographics of your customer base, including those with disabilities who would be better serviced by an interactive kiosk. Providing options to people with various service needs makes your business more well-rounded and accessible.
Do consumers want a self service option?
Although there are many reasons why self-service kiosks benefit businesses, any good business would ask if this technology is truly what their customers want. Cultivating a happy and loyal customer base should always be a top business goal. Maintaining loyal customers is easier and more profitable than attracting new ones. However, not every consumer wants the same thing across the board, which is why it’s preferable to have a variety of service options.
Metrics from recent years have shown that the majority of consumers enjoy having the option of self-service, and that the demand for this technology is only increasing more. Why is that?
Consider the last time you were at a grocery store to pick up a handful of essential items. Perhaps you’ve had a long day, or maybe you didn’t want to come out to the store in the first place, and you just want to get home. On days like this, you’re probably not in the mood to interact with a store employee, and since you only have a handful of items to purchase, the self-checkout line is a lifesaver. In this situation, the self-checkout’s convenience and speed is the right fit.
In general, consumers are starting to demand these self-service options more often, not just when they’re in a certain mood. The Covid-19 pandemic seems to have been a driving force for accelerating changes in consumer habits to favor self-service options. Both businesses and shoppers have had to adjust to the changing restrictions since the start of the pandemic, and trends suggest that those changes are not temporary. Consumers are now more accustomed to purchasing products and using services through a digital platform, whether it’s an online food delivery service, or an in-person kiosk that limits direct contact.
If you’re curious about the post-Covid trend of increased self-service options, read our recent blog post on the future of self-service technology in digital-only restaurants.
What to Look for in Interactive Self-service Kiosks
Once you arrive at the stage when you’re ready to invest in interactive self-service kiosks, the challenge is to find the right digital signage company and the type of kiosk that fits your business needs. Here are a few factors we recommend you seek out:
- Touch Screen: While buttons and toggles are still an option in most kiosk designs, their use is fading out in favor of touch screen integration. The majority of today’s consumers regularly use touch screen technology in their daily lives, so investing in technology that maintains that same ease of use is important for any business that wants to create a positive customer experience.
- Customization Options: The ability to customize a kiosk is what really makes it the right fit for your business. Any business can order a standard kiosk, but working with a digital signage company like Keyser that can scale and tailor features and enclosures to your unique needs is invaluable. Some common customizations include the ability to scan QR codes, LED lighting, a remote charging station, and more.
- Additional Services: There are a lot of digital signage companies out there and the good ones don’t just sell you a kiosk, they provide a high standard of complementary services to help you successfully integrate new signage technology into your business. Look for companies that offer installation, maintenance, and design services.
Contact us today for a Free Consultation
Are you interested in exploring how interactive self-service kiosks can improve customer experience and boost sales? We’re here to answer any questions and streamline the entire process. Let Keyser’s experienced team take care of your digital signage and interactive kiosk needs. Contact us to discuss your next project.