Kiosk technology is taking over retail and food services. In practically every kind of business that sells or delivers products to consumers—clothing & general merchandise stores, grocery stores, quick-service restaurants, bank branches—kiosks are becoming the first line of customer engagement. Why is the whole industry going crazy for kiosks?
- They speed up service.
- They improve the customer experience.
- They expand choice.
- They enable more personalization.
- They increase revenues.
Kiosk technology meets a driving need for speed.
You don’t need an advanced degree to appreciate the math of kiosks. Human beings at a counter can only serve so many people at a time. An apparel store typically has one or two associates handling checkout. A quick-service restaurant might have three lanes open during busy hours. That’s a recipe for long lines and frustrated customers. Adding kiosks can double capacity and keep customers (and dollars) flowing.
Kiosk technology improves the customer experience.
In an industry with razor-thin margins, customer experience is king. Kiosk technology makes all sorts of retail and restaurant experiences much more convenient for customers. Experiences like:
- Breezing through the grocery store deli counter—Enter your order at the kiosk, then continue with your shopping. When your order’s ready, you get a notification to go pick it up—no waiting in line.
- Adding table service to fast food—Place your order at the kiosk and grab a wireless-enabled tent card. When your food’s ready, an associate brings it right to you—without having to call you to the counter or walk around calling your name.
- Working with dedicated banking specialists—Need help working through a loan or mortgage application? Step over to the kiosk and get live, expert assistance in seconds.
Kiosks mean more choices.
A store can only stock so many products. Put in a kiosk, and retailers can give customers an endless aisle with access to every product they sell. Say you’ve found a sweater you love, but the store doesn’t have it in the size or color you want. Scan the tag at the kiosk, and now you have every variation of that sweater at your fingertips, ready to be shipped to your door.
Kiosks promote customization.
Along the same lines, kiosks make customizing orders much simpler. In quick-service restaurants, for example, most customers order strictly off the menu. There’s just no easy way to show customers all the possible customization options, and too many opportunities for mistakes. Order from a kiosk though, and now you can customize your sandwich just how you like it. You’re the one entering and reviewing the details, so there’s less chance of errors. One interesting side effect restaurants have found: when customers have the option to customize, they end up spending more than they otherwise would.
Kiosk technology improves the bottom line.
A common theme in all these advantages: they also lead to higher revenues. Serving more customers during busy times, letting people customize orders, providing access to a broader catalog of options. All these innovations lead to higher transaction values and increased profitability, even as they keep customers happier.
Is your network ready for kiosk technology?
This is all great news for retailers, restaurant operators, and bank branch managers, but kiosks can also create new challenges. These are, after all, wireless-connected devices. So, the reliability and performance of your network become even more crucial to the customer experience and your bottom line.
More kiosks mean more transactions, more software updates, more demand. If your network isn’t ready, all that new activity can create serious slowdowns. (Some retailers who added kiosks without accounting for the extra traffic they bring initially saw payment transaction error rates as high as 70%.)
It’s not just about capacity either. Say you’re running five kiosks in a quick service restaurant, plus other business applications, plus customers using retail guest Wi-Fi, plus employees in the back-watching training videos. How does your network know what’s important and what can move to the back of the line?
You need some automated intelligence in place to control and prioritize that traffic and ensure your customers have a great kiosk experience instead of a frustrating one. Fortunately, that’s exactly what application-aware software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) solutions can provide.
Want to know more? Visit our SD-WAN solutions.