Retail kiosks predate online shopping by about 30 years and yet they offer many of the same benefits along with the advantages of shopping in the real world (for example you can take your purchases home with you straight away rather than having to wait for delivery). Here are three ways kiosks are improving shopping.
Freeing up human staff for meaningful tasks
Customer service staff are, of course, there to serve the customer, but is answering “do you have this is a size x”-type questions the most meaningful use of their time (for which their employer is paying)?
Retail kiosks are a great way to channel off those basic and standard questions, thereby freeing up the time of human employees. Kiosks are also a good place to induce customers to take a survey, thus providing valuable data to help improve your business. The reason kiosks can be better for this than human employees, is that they are guaranteed to stick to a script of standardized questions, which is important for comparing responses. Despite its benefits, kiosks are considered in the development stage, and they may need to be tested for transaction volume, safety, and usability. In light of this, many retail stores seem to have dual channels for payments, one through kiosks and one through secure Cash Counters.
They can even be used as a means to process job applications, particularly for entry-level jobs. If you anticipate a high volume of applicants for a position and want to reduce the number of applications while increasing their overall quality, then requesting applicants process their applications through an in-store kiosk machine can help to achieve both goals as it narrows down the pool of applicants to people who are prepared to make a trip to one of your stores.
Linking the real world with the online one
Generally speaking, the big advantages of real world shopping are the ability to try before you buy (e.g. to check clothes actually fit you properly) and the ability to collect your purchases straight away and take them home with you. The big advantage of online shopping is that it allows for a range of choices way beyond anything except the very largest stores can offer.
Strategic use of these industrial touch screens can help bridge the gap between these two worlds by expanding the range available in store and ideally focusing on items shoppers would be happy to have delivered, such as larger, bulkier and/or heavier items, which are also the items which it would be hardest for a shop to store if they wished to keep them in stock. Kiosks can also be used to link up stores so that if, for example, a customer wants an item which is out of stock in one store, but available in another, they can reserve it from the kiosk and go to collect it knowing that it is there, waiting for them.
Queues are the bane of real-world shopping and the longer they get the worse the customer experience becomes. In fact, you could have delivered perfect service up to that point, only to see all your good work go to waste by the customer having to queue. That’s assuming your customer sticks around to make their purchases, they may abandon them or they may walk into your shop, see the line and decide to go elsewhere. Basically, whatever way you look at it, queues are just bad news and you want to eliminate them if at all possible. Divert some of the traffic to kiosks to speed up the purchase process.