Self-service kiosks are taking the retail industry by storm. The U.S. market for self-service kiosks will only grow in the coming years. The retail industry represents the largest single sector of point of sale self service kiosk use, accounting for a large amount of the market in recent years.
The growing popularity of point of sale self service kiosks is no mystery. Customers enjoy being able to place their order directly, without having to interact with staff, because doing so is faster and more accurate. At the same time, retailers benefit from POS self-service kiosks by allowing staff to spend more time attending to other tasks. The self-service kiosks reduce order errors, and customers complete their transactions more quickly. Happy customers are usually returning customers.
The Nuts and Bolts of a Point of Sale Self Service Kiosk
A common misunderstanding among retailers about POS self-service kiosks is that the systems are intended to replace their conventional cashier terminals. In fact, the kiosks are designed to work in conjunction with and to complement existing cash registers by making them more efficient. It’s also important to have staff available to assist customers in using the kiosks when necessary, especially at times when business peaks.
Self-service kiosks may be in the form of a touchscreen display in a fixed location or a tablet that customers hold in their hands. The roots of POS self-service kiosks date back to the invention of vending machines, and more recently to the advent of automated teller machines, self-service gas stations, and more recently, self-service terminals at airports. Since the early 2000s self-service kiosks have been enhanced with barcode readers and other scanners, printers for receipts and other documents, and support for contactless payments.
In addition to reducing the time required to complete sales transactions, POS self-service kiosks benefit retailers by taking up less space than standard cash registers, and their mobility allows the devices to be placed in more locations without taking up much space. This not only makes retail employees more productive, it frees up space in the store for other uses, and it reduces the number of abandoned sales at peak times due to customers choosing not to wait in a checkout line.
Tips for Implementing POS Self-Service Kiosks
As with many technologies, a point-of-sale self-service kiosk done right can give retailers a significant boost in sales and profit, but if not done right, it can frustrate customers and staff, and hurt rather than help the bottom line. Modern Restaurant Management cites a study that found the use of point of sale self service kiosks increased customers’ average order size by 21 percent, resulting in 1.4 times as many items in their carts at checkout. This represented an average increase of $5 per transaction.
Much of the increased sales recorded by POS self-service kiosks is because the devices “never forget to upsell,” as Modern Restaurant Management states. At restaurants, customers are automatically prompted to add a drink or a dessert item to their order, for example, and one popular chain reports that the kiosks increased the likelihood that diners would add items to their orders, at a price of 30 cents to 70 cents apiece.
Another advantage of POS self-service kiosks is their ability to give customers an enhanced view into the purchase process. This allows retailers to engage their customers at the time of purchase with special offers, promotions, and messages tailored to customers based on their shopping history.
To ensure POS self-service kiosks are as effective as possible, the units should be used in conjunction with traditional sales terminals for customers who prefer using the standard checkout process. The kiosks should be placed strategically where customers are most likely to find and use them. For example, retailers may be inclined to locate the kiosks against a wall or in a corner, but the devices are more likely to be used when situated in the natural path of customers.
The ability to collect, store, and analyze data about your customers is perhaps the greatest long-term benefit of POS self-service kiosks to retailers. This information allows stores, restaurants, and other retail outlets to have greater insight into which products and services to promote on the kiosks at various times. It also lets them know when to have staff available to assist customers in using the kiosks. Because the devices sync automatically with other sales terminals, kiosks give retailers a complete, up-to-the-minute view into their inventory levels.
Features to Look for in a Point of Sale Self Service Kiosk
When you consider the training required to get new employees up to speed on standard sales terminals, it’s no surprise that a clean, intuitive interface is of paramount importance when implementing a point of sale self service kiosk. The device will be used by customers with a broad range of technical skills and experience. While millennials tend to be most comfortable using self-service kiosks in restaurants and other retail establishments, the kiosks must also be welcoming to customers with little or no tech experience.
There are many ways the POS interface and performance can impact the return a retailer receives from its self-service kiosks:
- Keep response times fast: Often a POS terminal will access a backend database as part of the checkout process, but excessive load times on a self-service kiosk will discourage customers and may cause them to abandon their purchase.
- Don’t skimp on the interface: Tablets generally cost from $100 to $200 less than a standalone POS kiosk, which makes them an affordable option. However, standalone kiosks often have more ergonomic user interfaces than the interfaces of tablet-based applications. In the long run, a mix of both types of hardware becomes the most efficient approach.
- Confirm fast connections between printers, card readers, and other attached devices: Linking a tablet-based POS application to external hardware requires fast and reliable connections, particularly via wireless links. Even when cables connect POS kiosks with peripheral devices, establishing fast and reliable links can be troublesome. Thoroughly test all the features of the POS self-service kiosk and any printers or card readers it connects to.
Customers are driving the increased use of self-service options at restaurants, stores, and other retailers, but retailers are also reaping the benefits of POS self-service kiosks. Customer wait times go down, errors are reduced, inventory levels are updated automatically, and sales clerks can spend their time serving customers rather than operating a sales terminal. It all adds up to a better customer experience, more productive staff, and a more efficient — and profitable — operation.
Learn more about how the talech POS system helps retailers improve the shopping experience for their customers and optimize the management of all their vital business processes. We work with you to determine the best ways to meet the needs of your customers and employees so your business can thrive. We take the time to learn your business so we can balance your specific needs with your budget and comfort level in a custom POS system implementation. The result is a valued investment that will pay for itself in short order. Reach out to us today to sign up for a free demo and learn more about how talech can be your valued partner in the POS world.