Self-Service Kiosks: Adoption and Challenges in Implementation

RedyrefAccording to a recent industry report by Research and Markets, the interactive kiosk market was valued at $22.69 billion in 2018 and it is expected to reach $31.32 billion by 2024. This market includes self-service kiosks which have gained popularity in the food & beverage industry. To discuss the adoption and challenges of self-service kiosks in detail we caught up Will Pymm, managing director of REDYREF Interactive Kiosks.

Ingenico Group: What are some of the big changes you’ve seen in the self-service kiosk industry?

Will Pymm: The first few instances of self-service kiosks were in the form of ATMs that allowed users to withdraw cash. Today, kiosks have become much more than that. In addition to providing convenience, many changes in the industry are being driven by the need to improve user experience over anything else.

Some of the biggest changes I have witnessed have been in software application development, and manufacturing capabilities. Advances in these two areas have enabled kiosk to be customized to suit many different use cases and business needs. From retail self-service checkouts, and DVD rentals, to purchasing/dispensing train and even hotel check-ins, kiosk development is increasingly focusing on removing friction from the customer experience.

IG: What are some verticals in which you see self-service kiosks being adopted and therefore significant potential for growth?

WP: Kiosks have almost limitless possibilities for use. They can already be found in nearly every vertical, for a wide variety of uses. Retail environments like stores and malls can use kiosks for self-checkout and wayfinding. In healthcare, kiosks can help with patient check-in and care monitoring, and wayfinding kiosks can be very helpful in large hospital campuses. In quick-service restaurant (QSR) environments, self-service kiosks are useful for ordering food and securely accepting payments. Within the transportation space, parking garages, train stations and airports are using kiosks for check-in, ticketing and secure payment acceptance.

IG: What has led to this increased adoption? What are the trends that have made it possible?

WP: Proliferation of the internet, cloud computing and mobility have all made delivering kiosk technology easier. After online retailers such as Amazon and eBay normalized the purchase of goods via computers and mobile devices, technology companies realized how access to information about products could help consumers make smarter decisions. Touchscreen technology, commonly used in mobile devices, significantly enhanced the kiosk user experience and opened the floodgate for self-service kiosks as a category, with users demanding more and better access across multiple verticals and use cases.

Additionally, kiosk adoption is also being driven by the availability of applications that can be customized for specific industry needs i.e. point of sale for QSR, wayfinding for college campuses, ticketing for stadiums or amusement parks, etc.

IG: What does the widespread adoption of interactive kiosks mean for businesses and consumers?

WP: Self-service provides greater flexibility and efficiency for both businesses and consumers. Giving customers control of the purchasing process is often more efficient and enables them to manage transactions on their own terms. Whether they are seeking information, buying a train ticket or checking-in to a hotel, self-service kiosks are able to provide them with experiences that are convenient and intuitive, as well as secure. For businesses, kiosks facilitate better balancing of resources and help lower costs in the long run. In a hospitality environment, kiosks can create efficiencies by reducing lines as busy travelers are able to check into their rooms without even needing to visit the front desk.

IG: What are the common challenges businesses face when implementing a self-service kiosk strategy? How can they address these challenges? 

WP: Developing, manufacturing and deploying a self-service kiosk is complex due to the many stakeholders involved in the process. Depending on the level of customization needed, the integration process is often the biggest challenge a business will face. Another obstacle businesses may run up against, and can be especially time-consuming, concerns outdoor kiosks specifically, and that’s the selection of materials used to protect the exterior of kiosks. Depending on the deployment environment, it’s incredibly important to choose materials that will positively impact the kiosk’s longevity by allowing it to function in whatever weather conditions to which it will be potentially exposed.

There are also a number of operational considerations that businesses can keep front-of-mind to help mitigate issues before they occur. First is the organizational buy-in on the kiosk’s target user. This is a critical step as it helps define the level of customization needed for the final solution and can keep the complexity of the kiosk to the minimum required for it to function as would be expected by the user.

Second is selecting the right manufacturer. Choosing a turn-key kiosk provider with design, manufacturing, installation and servicing capabilities can help reduce the number of parties involved in the process. This, in turn, decreases the chances of technical issues arising with deployment.

Lastly, from a technical perspective, it is important to select the right component partners which ultimately helps ensure delivery of a high-quality product with excellent usability.

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