How Kiosks Can Improve the Customer Experience
Due in large part to the explosion of online shopping during the pandemic, customers have developed new expectations of their shopping and dining experiences. The convenience and speed they discovered through online ordering is now assumed to be part of the physical experience as well. Those demands require innovative technology in response.
Buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) is one of the trends that took off during the pandemic. At the time, it allowed shoppers to follow social distancing requirements and avoid lingering in stores. But the trend has continued even as the pandemic wanes because shoppers have come to appreciate the speed and convenience of purchasing before they even enter a store.
This is where kiosks come into play, as they can shorten the time it takes to pick up an order. According to Retail Customer Experience, kiosks “can also function as an upselling tool that takes advantage of shoppers’ natural inclination to buy ‘just one more thing,’ with customers using the kiosk to look up products online, purchase them then and there, and have them in hand a few minutes later.”
“Today’s kiosks feature several time-saving features,” the article notes. Credit and debit cards can be used to purchase right at the kiosk or to pick up orders. “Many come with receipt printers, barcode readers, and even top-mounted cameras that enable personal interaction with store associates.”
Can Kiosks Help Retailers Address the Labor Shortage?
It’s not just about adding convenience to enhance the customer experience. Kiosks also have the potential to help address the labor shortage the industry currently faces.
Supermarkets are already experiencing the relief kiosks can offer in this regard. Grocery Dive’s Sam Silverstein reports that “technologies like self-checkout and ordering kiosks are offering relief to grocers unable to hire enough workers to handle essential functions.”
“To help deal with a persistent labor shortage that has severely tested their ability to keep stores staffed and stocked, grocers are stepping up efforts to mechanize a range of essential tasks that historically have been handled by people,” Silverstein writes.
Grocery stores are adding more self-checkout terminals and implementing automation tools to help with pricing and inventory management. “Many of these tools have been available to food retailers, and they’re getting a closer look nowadays as the industry confronts what looks to be a long-term hiring and retention challenge,” the article notes.
Kiosks are also helping restaurant owners address the labor shortage. Self-order stations, outdoor ordering solutions such as digital menu boards and digital signage are all examples of how technology has filled some of the staffing challenges retailers continue to face.
What Tech Is Required for Retailers to Use Kiosks?
Fortune Business Insights notes that kiosks require a core structure that can store large amounts of data. “This data requirement can be easily fulfilled by cloud and AI technology in secure and reliable environments at a low cost,” the report says.
“Key players are focusing on integrating cloud computing with machines. These cloud computing services are enabled with Analytics as a Service (AaaS) offerings that allow users to quickly program these machines without the need for external storage devices,” it continues.
Retailers in search of these kinds of innovative solutions can benefit from a strategic technology partnership, such as CDW’s Amplified™ Services, which can help to assess an organization’s data management needs. Such services can also offer insights about how artificial intelligence and machine learning can transform a retailer’s use of the data at its disposal.