Tag Archives: kiosk printer

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.

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.

Exploring Endless Aisles

Earlier, we looked at how retailers use kiosks in endless aisle applications to increase their revenue by offering expanded inventory availability to in-store customers. If you’re interested in investigating the endless aisle concept in more detail, we discovered a “business tip” on Retailwire.com you may find of interest.

As the Oracle-sponsored business tip explains, “Retailers must optimize their assortments to avoid overstocks and minimize the need to sell off extra merchandise at the end of each season. What’s new is that many retailers are finding alternative means for providing customers with items that don’t physically exist in the store.” To read more and download Oracle’s white paper from Retailwire.com, click here.

To learn about endless aisle kiosks and other innovative self-service applications that retailers are using to increase same-store sales, download the on-demand webinar “Increase Same Store Results with Next-Gen Self Service” from Zebra’s webinar resource Web page.

Find out more about kiosks and kiosk printers here.

What Could Your Store Do with an Apple® iPad™?

RetailWire recently led a lively discussion about the potential uses for Apple’s new iPad™ in a retail environment. One application mentioned was the replacement of kiosks.

Apple iPad

We wonder about the real-world feasibility of that, though. Kiosks offer customers the convenience of self-service, whereas a store-owned mobile pad device seems to require a sales associate to use it with their customers. Otherwise, you’d have to find a way to anchor it so it doesn’t “walk away.” In other words, turn it into a kiosk.

Another thing: What about printing? Most kiosks can print recipes, gift registry lists, receipts, loyalty cards, gift cards, and on and on. An iPad doesn’t have a rugged printer, built for retail environments, “attached” to it. (Nor is an iPad tough enough for most such environments.)

How would you use a mobile pad device in your stores? Would you consider replacing a kiosk with a pad device? And would you consider the loss of a self-service printing capability an issue?

Read the RetailWire discussion here, and the AdAge article that prompted it.

Full-Feature Kiosk Printer: Your New Best Friend

Since we announced the new KR403 kiosk printer today, we thought it would be prudent to give you a few reasons to care about it. It’s just a kiosk printer after all, right?

Well, kind of. Did you know that nearly 90% of today’s kiosks have some sort of printed output? From payment receipts and transaction confirmations to recipe, folio and map printing, most kiosks produce records for the users. However, printers remain the primary cause of kiosk downtime. Not just a kiosk printer anymore, huh? Whether it’s a paper jam or simply being out of media, when a kiosk’s print capability is down, so is the kiosk.

Because a single service call can quickly erase any savings a kiosk integrator realizes from the purchase of a low end printer, we wanted to point out a few reasons why a full featured printer will give you a greater ROI in the long run.

Looping Presenter: The looping present prevents the main cause of kiosk printer jams: End-user interference. This features prevents the user from accessing the printout until it is completely printed and cut, decreasing the chance of premature pulling or tearing that can jam the printer.

Guillotine cutter: A guillotine cutter smoothly separates the printout from the paper roll, not only creating a nice edge, but also preventing jams by keeping the end of the roll available for the next printout.

Large roll capacity: In addition to reducing reloading trips, a large roll capacity reduces the number of times the kiosk is opened, reducing the frequency or improper loading.

Remote monitoring: By being notified when paper is jammed or low, a company can not only reduce kiosk downtime but in some cases, even prevent it.

By eliminating or at least greatly recuing downtime caused by printer problems, kiosk deployers will see more uptime and more uptime means happier customers.