Tag Archives: Self Service

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?


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


  • 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.


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


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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.

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.

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.

Boosting Retail ROI: How Kiosks Build Loyalty Beyond Your Loyalty Program

Over the past several weeks, we’ve touched on top ways retailers use self service to streamline store processes, reduce labor costs through labor redeployment, and reduce paper and consumables costs. They’ve included:

And here’s one more: We’ve found one of the most successful applications in delivering both major operating efficiencies and satisfied customers is the use of loyalty card self-service kiosks.

Why so? First, consider your store’s most important asset—your customers. With traditional loyalty programs, you start out by asking customers to take time to fill out a paper form in the middle of your store’s hustle and bustle. They feel put out. Add to that the two or three weeks it may take you to process their application and ship them their card, and the whole process becomes a burden for them.

It’s also a burden for you as a retailer. There’s a vast amount of paper associated with traditional loyalty programs. Chris Peter, project manager for St. Clair Interactive, tells us that 40 percent of paper-based program applications—surveys, questionnaires and the like—are rejected because of sloppy handwriting or incomplete information.

Eliminating the paper by using self-service kiosks reduces incorrect information, eliminates multiple customer records, and cuts your administrative costs. And while eliminating paper is the green thing to do, it also happens to cut your consumables costs.

Issuing loyalty cards via self-service kiosks is a win-win application. Streamlined processes lower your costs. And your customers are happy because they can quickly do it themselves. In goes their information, and out comes a valid loyalty card with which they can immediately start earning rewards.

If you’re curious about other ways self-service can increase same-store results, check out this recorded webinar produced by RIS News. Also learn more about kiosk printers.

Do you see opportunities for improving efficiencies through loyalty card kiosks?