The screen kiosk system is being seen in a growing number of locations. From restaurants installing them to speed up the ordering process to cities using them in key places as information points, we are certainly becoming more and more used to the presence of a kiosk in multiple locations. Largely, the rise of screen kiosk systems is due to the number of advantages that they bring to both a business and a consumer. As technology only continues to evolve and improve, screen kiosk systems are only becoming more common. Their flexibility and potential to generate more profits while streamlining customer service means that more business owners than ever are looking at screen kiosk systems and how they can improve business growth.
Industry Use: Who is using kiosks successfully?
Not every business model will benefit from a kiosk system. There are many initial concerns that people have when it comes to self-service kiosks. One of the most commonly seen is the fact that screen kiosk systems greatly reduce human interaction, and there are fears that this can lead to consumer frustration. That means the first step is to understand which industries are using self-service kiosks and screen systems effectively.
- The Health Sector: In the UK, it is now very common to see self-service screen kiosks in medical settings. From local GPs to dental surgeries and even in hospitals, the health sector is one of the big users of screen kiosks. This has taken many people by surprise, as it was assumed that the healthcare sector would be one that relies heavily on human interaction. However, their use has proven to be very effective when it comes to lightening the high-pressure workload on staff, and for making it easier for patients to make out of hours payments (which can only be a good thing for the NHS). When staff are less tied up with admin and service roles, they have more time to spend on vital patient care, and that’s one of the main reasons why screen kiosk systems are only going to become more visible in the healthcare sector.
- Councils: This is another sector that is making greater use of self-service kiosks than ever before because they make it much easier and faster for people to pay a council what they owe. Although the majority of council payments can be made online or by phone, there are still plenty of people in the UK who lack access to these technologies. This used to mean long queues and lengthy waiting times. Not only is this a waste of the customer’s time, but it also wastes the time of council staff who could be spending that time on more proactive duties. It is this kind of setting where customer interaction is not relevant. By using kiosks, councils make the process of paying parking fines, council tax, and local licenses much faster, cutting down waiting times and freeing up employees for more important and practical tasks.
- Transportation: With the UK embracing the notion of cashless travel, self-service kiosks of all types are becoming a more common sight on the streets and in transport hubs all around the country. Cashless travel has led to cash savings due to improved efficiency and less need for ticket offices that need to be manned. The money being saved is then funnelled back into travel improvements, further improving the customer experience. It isn’t just money that’s being saved by the growing use of kiosk ticket machines. Less paper waste in these environmentally challenging times is also one of the major reasons why consumers are preferring automated ticket purchases, alongside the smaller queues and faster travel.
- Retail: This is one of the main settings where self-service kiosks are highly visible. The retail sector is one of the biggest adopters of screen kiosk technology, even though it is also a sector where interactions between staff and customers are often more highly valued. It has led to a middle ground approach, where smaller purchases can be made via long rows of self-service kiosks, but those who need assistance or have a full shopping trolley can head to manned tills. This has the effect of speeding up queues, easing the pressure on staff, and improving customer service for those that need it.
- The Food Industry: When you look at the big names in the food and drink sector, then you will already see screen kiosk systems being widely adopted. However, they are not suitable for every restaurant or food establishment. Even the big players like McDonald’s have opted for a blend of kiosks and human service. It is clear that in the vast majority of food businesses, customer service will not be completely removed in the near future. However, busy food chains are greatly benefiting from the adoption of screen kiosk systems, especially those with quick customer turnover and fast interactions.
These are the key industries where screen kiosk systems are being seen more commonly, although they are not the only ones. More than ever, self-service kiosks are being used to speed up those short and simple transactions that do not require human interference.
Case Study 1 – The Retail Sector: A Closer Look
The average high street store is struggling, largely due to excessive rents and online retailers carving out their own spaces and taking over from traditional big-name outlets. In order to survive and continue to generate profits, retailers are having to embrace innovative ideas. One of the key innovations that retailers are adopting on a grand scale is self-service screen kiosk systems. This is because the advantages for retailers go way beyond the general benefits of kiosk systems. Rather than simply cutting down queue times and freeing up staff, screen kiosk systems in the retail environment also offer advantages such as:
- Big Data: It’s a rule of business that the more you know about your customers, the easier it is to sell them what they want and need. Traditionally, retailers have been very limited in terms of gathering information about shoppers. Now, all businesses have access to vast volumes of available data, and retailers are using that to personalise and target their marketing strategies. Gathering additional data is only made easier by the use of kiosks. Person to person interactions in retail reveals very little in the way of information. Digital kiosks can be a valuable source of demographic insights and shopping habits. That’s because a digital kiosk gives businesses access to a digital trail of measurable data, such as time spent looking through specific product ranges, and which products are being looked at the most but being sold the least. A screen kiosk system in retail settings means that owners can gain the same insights into buying behaviour that e-commerce brands have been enjoying and benefitting from for years.
- Personalisation: One of the big business buzzwords of the last few years has been personalisation. It is generally used when talking about marketing, but personalisation can also be highly important in the shopping experience. There has been a big change in the demands of consumers who no longer want to be sold to, but instead, simply want to buy what they need and want. In many ways, a screen kiosk system acts as a bridge between the experience of online shopping and the traditional in-store experience. Retail kiosks can advise and guide a customer, often offering gift suggestions and asking questions about what they are looking for. The goal is both personalisation and convenience, and the right implementation of kiosk systems means improved customer service without the wage bill, and the ability to upsell or highlight promotions without being solely e-commerce.
The modern consumer wants to be able to shop in the ways that they enjoy. For some, this will mean online buying only, while others will want the in-store experience. By embracing screen kiosk systems, retailers can offer a more omnichannel approach that helps to gain a more competitive edge and give profits a boost at the same time.
Case Study 2 – The Restaurant Industry: A Closer Look
The food and drink sector has been a huge adopter of screen kiosk systems. Even more so than in retail, customers visiting restaurants are more than used to helping themselves at buffets and carveries. Kiosks are the natural evolution of this, and as kiosk technology has improved, it’s easier than ever for hungry customers to choose their meals, alter the ingredients, and pay for their food, all without a moment of human interaction. The vast majority of McDonald’s already have self-service kiosksavailable, and other fast food outlets are racing to catch up. It’s not just fast food either. Even smaller restaurants are using smaller-scale digital technology for menu displays, table service, and self-checkout kiosks. The main reason why restaurants are one of the fastest and most proactive adopters of screen kiosk systems is that kiosks offer so many potential advantages:
- Faster and more efficient ordering processes
- More effective use of staff who no longer have to serve customers in person and can prioritise food preparation
- Improved food ordering accuracy and meal customisation
However, the big advantage for restaurants that make use of kiosk systems is that customers will spend more. This is not only because an automated system will never forget to suggest upgrades and additional promotions, but also that people are more inclined to take up those suggestions when offered them via a screen rather than a person. However, kiosk systems are not suitable for all food and drink settings, and restaurateurs will need to evaluate the following:
- Restaurant Type: Faster and more casual food businesses that cater to the younger markets will find that they have a good response to screen kiosk systems. For example, a burger bar that has a huge choice of menu options can speed up the ordering process for large parties simply because it’s easier to tick a box than explain to a member of staff what ingredients are wanted. For restaurants with an older clientele, or with a more ambient, relaxing atmosphere, kiosk systems may take time to prove their value.
- Solving Problems: When waiting times are too long, when mistakes are common because customers have too much choice, or when you have long queue build-ups at busy periods, then you need to find solutions. If those issues are not something that you have to deal with then perhaps a kiosk system is not necessary as yet. However, with kiosks that take on the burden of food ordering and taking payments, you ease the pressure on your workforce at even the busiest periods.
The Future of the Screen Kiosk System
Technology is advancing in great leaps and bounds, and screen kiosk systems are only growing more high-tech and high-value for a growing number of industries. The future of screen kiosk systems is one of undoubted growth as more industries adopt their use and more benefits can be gained from the systems. Some of the key areas to watch in the screen kiosk system and the business environment of the future includes:
- Kiosks and the IoT: Every day, we are closer and closer to a more connected world thanks to the ongoing development of the Internet of Things (IoT). What used to be static billboards and human cashiers is now a fully connected digital service kiosk that is linked with all departments. Modern screen kiosk systems are automatically connected to your existing systems and processes, and no matter how large the company, they immediately benefit from real-time data capture, an automated delivery process, and the benefits of predictive analysis. As the IoT continues to become an all-pervading and invisible part of daily life, kiosks are only going to grow in value for the industries that adopt their use.
- Millennials: Although they are often blamed for the death of multiple industries, it is millennials who are more likely to use kiosks and self-service systems. That’s because they have grown up with technology and feel very comfortable using it. While businesses that target the baby boomer generation may find that there is resistance to new technologies, those younger markets are only going to grow more profitable as they enter the workforce and start earning their own income. In a growing number of service and transactional business spaces, kiosks are only going to grow more popular as they become more common. When the human touch is more inefficient and less accurate, screen kiosk systems are the inevitable solution.
- Newer Technology: As the technologies for screen kiosk systems continues to become more cutting-edge, they are being adopted by a wider group of organisations. The more high-tech it becomes, the more options for using them it introduces, and that is being felt across many previously unexpected sectors. While most people have experience with barcode scanning and touchscreens, the future of kiosks is very likely to include biometrics (including facial recognition) and much higher-resolution displays. Even secure transactions will be made safer thanks to the development of pressure-sensitive touch screens, especially in those settings where age-restricted goods are being sold or the dispensing of controlled substances is likely.
- Getting Smart: Screen kiosk systems are becoming more commonly seen because they are getting smarter. That means that they are well-suited to those environments that are also getting smarter. The versatility of kiosks means that they are already being used in a growing number of spaces and that only looks set to grow. They are offering huge potential benefits for:
- Urban Spaces: Both city spaces and community spaces are already seeing more widespread adoption of screen kiosk systems. As the technology continues to make kiosks more useful, they are being used in urban development as a wayfinding resource for shoppers and tourists, for displaying marketing materials from local organisations, and even as phone-charging points. The limitless potential of kiosks for providing information looks set to make the urban space kiosk even more ubiquitous than it currently is. As cities become smarter and more connected, the kiosk is rapidly becoming the high-tech replacement for the traditional telephone box. With cities like London and New York installing kiosks that are receiving a high volume of use, it seems inevitable that other urban spaces will follow suit.
- Learning Spaces: They aren’t on every university or college campus quite yet, but the next stage of educational assistance is the screen kiosk system. In the same way that kiosks can be used for urban spaces to deliver easy to access information, students can take advantage of the same benefits. They will be able to learn about scheduled student union events, access personalised timetable changes, or find out what’s happening off-campus. For freshers, kiosks can provide directions to specific rooms, making it easier to acclimate to an unfamiliar environment. Perhaps most importantly, kiosk systems are highly valuable for colleges and universities with a wider and more diverse student body. With the ability of the kiosk to provide information in any number of different languages, information can be delivered and processed with far greater ease.
From saving money on staff wages to improving personalisation without the need for human interaction, kiosks are proving to be the next big leap for any B2C environment. We may be social animals, but we also value efficiency, especially when spending. For a huge number of businesses and organisations, screen kiosk systems are no longer an option: they are essential for improved cost management, greater efficiency, and more seamless customer experience.