Category Archives: Kiosk

Workforce Management and Employee Kiosks: Perfect Partners

Aberdeen Group has released a Research Brief that further explores its December 2009 findings that 56 percent of Best-in-Class retailers are integrating their store-level workforce management processes.

The Research Brief shows that retailers using an integrated store-level workforce strategy that includes scheduling, time and attendance, and other human resource management technologies are much better able to respond to pressure to control labor costs, improve workforce productivity, and provide the customer with a seamless in-store shopping experience. Eighty percent of the above 56 percent, for instance, have increased same-store sales and 46 percent have raised customer retention rates.

Self-service kiosks can help streamline such integration by offering a convenient and effective interface between employees, an automated workforce management system and managers. For example, we wrote about one retail chain that found that after rolling out employee-facing kiosks as part of its labor management update, store managers spend 75 percent less time scheduling employees, and they can ensure the optimum number of customer-facing associates are on the floor.

Read more about how the chain benefited by employing self-service for employees. See white papers and other resources about kiosks and kiosk printing here.

As you face changing consumer demands and the pressure to deliver customer-centric service, is your store moving towards integrated workforce management? Do you see a place for kiosks in your workforce management processes?

Bar Codes to Cater to the Fashion Elite

Next month’s Fashion Week in New York will have a cute new accessory to dazzle the fashionistas. The event will be utilizing technology that the trade show industry as employed for several years now: barcodes.

We barcodnistas are pretty used to it by now. You register for NRF or RetailNow or any other trade event and you get a confirmation email with a barcode that you use to fly through the registration lines, laughing at long lines behind you.

Signature9 reported that Getting into FashionWeek shows have had epic long lines and only the fashion elites got fast tracked to their seats. Now attendees donning their barcoded RSVPs likebarcode purse next year’s hip clutch purses will fly over to check-in kiosks, scan their barcodes and get their seat assignments. The new system will give the event planners better gate-crash management as well as a faster seat switching capability.

The combination of technologies is really the interesting thing about this news. Not only will the implementation of barcodes provide better insight and management of attendees, the deployment of kiosks will deliver reduced wait times, fewer errors and greater attendee satisfaction. You can check out our retail solutions here.

How could you combine tracking technologies in a new way?

Hardware Considerations for Kiosk Design and Implementation

Previously, we’ve written about fundamental best practices that apply to designing and deploying any kiosk program, as well as tips that apply to specific retail kiosk applications. Following are things to consider when choosing hardware components for custom kiosks.

Zebra Kiosk Print Station

Housings

  • Size: The kiosk should fit easily in the available space without blocking aisles or interfering with displays; compact interior components can help minimize housing size.
  • Usage and environmental factors: Exposure to dust, moisture, and changes in light or temperature require suitable peripherals; for example, in dirty or high-usage environments, touchscreen input is preferable to a keyboard.
  • Physical security: Locking cabinets and rugged construction can help secure the kiosk and its components.

Displays

Match the environment and application. For example:

  • For outdoor kiosks, choose a display that can self-adjust to lighting conditions and remain readable in bright sunlight.
  • For promotional applications, you may want high-end audio and video capabilities, while these would be overkill in a deli-ordering application.
  • Ensure touchscreens are durable enough to withstand operation by untrained customers using keys or other surface-scratching objects to press the screen.

KR403 kiosk printer

Printers

In addition to ensuring printers can physically fit into the kiosk design, it’s important to ensure printers are reliable as they are a major variable in overall kiosk reliability.

  • Print method: Thermal printers have few moving parts, and unlike laser and other printer types, direct thermal printers don’t require downtime to restock toner or ink.
  • Jam-prevention features: Some printers will cut the printout so users won’t tear or pull on it as it’s printing.
  • Remote management capabilities: To minimize downtime, choose printers that automatically send low-paper or paper-jam alerts and that allow support staff to remotely troubleshoot printers, change settings, or install software.

For more guidance in kiosk implementation, check out these white papers: Understanding Kiosk Requirements: Optimizing Design, Placement and Component Selection and Kiosks are Here—Are You Ready? What You Need to Get Started with Kiosks.

For more about kiosk printing, click here.

Application-Specific Tips for Kiosk Design and Implementation

Previously, we explored fundamental best practices that apply to designing and deploying any kiosk program. Now, let’s look at considerations specific to the following common kiosk applications.

Self-Checkout

  • Ease of integration is key for self-checkout kiosks, which must interface with POS systems and peripheral devices such as bar code scanners and scales.
  • Application designs and peripherals should support fast transaction processing.
  • Minimal downtime is also a key consideration. The receipt printer, as a key component, should have a large paper capacity so it require less-frequent reloading, and should safeguard against jamming when customers pull on the receipt before printing is completed.

Coupons, Promotions and Loyalty

  • Positioning is key. Place coupon/promotion kiosks near the front of the store or the promoted department to maximize use. Deploy kiosks supporting loyalty programs in convenient locations to encourage use on every visit—or, install them in low-traffic areas to draw more customers there.
  • Include a loyalty card reader to capture kisk user information, which can be used to tailor promotions to customer preferences.
  • Ensure coupons/certificates reflect your store’s image: Integrate a printer that supports quality materials and sharp graphics.

Product Information

  • Place kiosks near products, so customers can readily get the product after learning about it.
  • Use video or other multimedia to describe products when the product line is complex or confusing.
  • If content (how-to tips, project materials checklists, product descriptions) is fairly static, the kiosk can hold it in memory and may not need to be networked.

Ordering

  • Choose a high-quality screen and printer that produce sharp images and order tickets or receipts, and that support high levels of throughput.
  • Consider security if the kiosk will also accept payment, particularly if wirelessly networked.

Gift Card

  • System security and reliable receipt printing are essential, since self-service gift card kiosks almost always accept payment.
  • Improve customer satisfaction by install kiosks near customer service counters, to divert customers who might otherwise stand in line to engage a store associate.

Registry

  • Include registry kiosks on the network to ensure the registry is updated when items are selected or ordered.
  • If you like, set the application to print a ticket directing users to the item’s exact location, or to alert an associate to go to the kiosk to interact with the registry shopper.

For more guidance in kiosk implementation, check out these white papers: Understanding Kiosk Requirements: Optimizing Design, Placement and Component Selection and Kiosks are Here—Are You Ready? What You Need to Get Started with Kiosks.

Read more about printing from kiosks.

Kiosks Make Recycling Easy

How many times have you traded-up to a new cell phone in the last 5 years?  According to University of California professor Bill Tomlinson, “The average American gets a new cell phone about every 17 months. That’s a big pile of dead cell phones at the end of the day.”

If you’re like me you haven’t added yours to that big pile yet.  They’re stored away in the bottom drawer of your desk or in a box in the back of the closet.  So, the good news is that we’ve got another choice, we can recycle them.

San Diego based ecoATM has installed kiosks to encourage consumers to recycle their old cell phones.  The kiosks pay recyclers with cash or a contribution to their favorite charity as well as other incentives and coupons.  Mark Bowles, ecoATM founder, calls the solution convenient because the consumer can recycle on the spot instead of traditional buy-back programs that require mail-in of old phones. 

This interesting example of kiosks driving green behavior is just one of several worth reading in the first of a 2 part series by Kioskmarketplaces.com’s Missy Baxter.

Read the rest of the article.

Want to learn about implementing self service kiosks?

Kiosks in Grocery Stores

www.zebra.com

Six Best Practices for Kiosk Design and Deployment

While retail kiosk applications and configurations will vary according to your business goals, you can still count on certain basic best practices to help guide your design and deployment decisions. Following are six fundamental requirements to make any kiosk solution more successful. 

  1. Maximize reliability. Out-of-service kiosks risk reducing customer satisfaction instead of raising it. Hardware should be built to perform under constant use and tough environments—and without the need for extensive hands-on staff support.
  2. Monitor operation to minimize downtime. Remotely monitor and troubleshoot internal components that issue alerts regarding error conditions over your network. And if your kiosks are compatible with applications you already use to monitor POS and other IT assets, so much the better; you’ll enjoy better ROI and streamline monitoring resources.
  3. Simplify support. To further minimize downtime, ensure your staff is both adequately trained and able to easily access the kiosk to perform routine support tasks like loading printer paper.
  4. Integrate kiosks with information systems and enterprise software applications. It only makes sense to tie a kiosk supporting a customer loyalty program with a CRM application, for example, or to integrate kiosks with POS, inventory, order management and data mining applications as needed. Kiosks must also support enterprise security standards, and are subject to PCI regulations.
  5. Ensure the kiosk is easy for customers to use. Applications should be as intuitive as possible, with help available via on-screen instructions or a nearby employee. And transactions shouldn’t take more than six steps or screens to complete.
  6. Promote kiosk usage. Use promotions, signage, demonstrations, and kiosk placement to increase customer satisfaction and utilization rates.

For more guidance in kiosk implementation, check out these white papers: Understanding Kiosk Requirements: Optimizing Design, Placement and Component Selection and Kiosks are Here—Are You Ready? What You Need to Get Started with Kiosks.

 Learn more about printers as a kiosk component here.

Can Self-Service and Mobility Live Together in Harmony?

Is the proliferation of mobile applications and mobile marketing replacing current in-store self-service initiatives? As mobile phones add more applications and get increasingly connected to personal preferences and opt-in marketing, what is the impact to the kiosk industry? Or for that matter, even the future of self-checkout?

Don’t assume just because you do anything in the world with an iPhone that it will render the kiosk market obosete. The fact is, many smartphone aps are designed to actually work with existing self service options such as pre-orders, recipe printing and more.

Integrated Solutions for Retailers Editor in Chief Matt Pillar will be facilitating a Motorola-Zebra webinar on the subject “When is Self-Service the Best Service?” on Thursday, July 15th. He’ll talk with Zebra on where printing plays in an increasingly all-digital world and discuss which mobile/self-service applications are actually proving ROI for retailers.

You can get more details on the webinar here.