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Self-serve kiosks have become more commonplace in recent years, across may different industries. However, they have become increasingly more prevalent within the hospitality realm, standing in for traditional cashiers as a way of placing and purchasing orders that allows patrons to skip the line.
Although we haven’t seen widespread adoption quite yet, according to one study, adoption is expected to expand 10.9 percent from 2016 to 2024. This is anticipated to provide a world market capitalization of $30.8 billion – 42 percent of which will be held in North American markets.
Major fast food companies such as Wendy’s, White Castle, and McDonalds are primarily leading the way with the use of kiosks in restaurants. McDonalds has even gone so far as to announce the use of these kiosks in 2,500 restaurants by the end of last year.
While every kiosk installation has its own unique set of purpose and execution requirements, there are key factors for success in hospitality, based on what end-users are specifically looking to accomplish.
Whether the kiosk is going indoors or out, your number one concern should be crafting and presenting a low-maintenance kiosk design. Durable, easy-to-clean, reliable solutions will help you maintain success with end-users in the long run. The overall durability of your kiosk will likely serve as a proving grounds for whether or not your customers return to you for repeat purchases on future projects. Because of this, it’s crucial that you utilize more durable components such as shatter-resistant glass, or industrial-grade electronics to minimize failure, downtime, and lost revenues.
Many kiosk manufacturers are opting to use fanless, ventless computer enclosures engineered to keep electronic components cooler without the necessity of moving components, which are prone to breaking. Additionally, solid state hard drives are helping to reduce the number of moving components involved in a solution, and the faster, stronger drives improve system response times. For users, an unresponsive or frozen kiosk reflects negatively on the business overall, which does not incentivize the end-user to purchase a solution from your business again.
A truly great kiosk should act like a beacon, drawing customers to it with eye-catching graphics, or attractive video that communicate a clear message and purpose. The overall design of a kiosk should clearly and accurately display and reinforce the company’s branding. Consider size, shape, screen positioning, and height, because these are the first things potential users encounter. These factors will also have the most influence over a consumer’s decision to interact with the kiosk – if it looks too uncomfortable or cumbersome to use, they will not attempt to even approach it as an interactive option. This would render it useless to the end-user’s company, and will not offer them a solid return on their investment with you or your products.
Once your kiosk has successfully attracted your audience, the next step is ensuring they interact through to purchase or service delivery. This is where the experience must shine through efficiency and convenience. The whole purpose of the kiosk is to allow the customer to order without the inconvenience of waiting in line. Your kiosk software should ensure it offers an intuitive interface that is user friendly and provides a seamless experience. If the customer feels they can order faster through traditional means, or if the software is too difficult to navigate, they will become frustrated. They could leave in the middle of the transaction in order to order at the counter, or worse result lost transactions.
Navigating through multiple menus and submenus can likewise lead to frustration and lost orders. The user should be able to access what they want with minimal interaction with the kiosk. When choosing the way customers will interact with a kiosk it is important to keep things simple. The messaging and calls to action should be clear and easy to understand. Images should be clearly displayed and buttons easy to identify.
If the end user offers a rewards or a loyalty program to its visitors, you can integrate this into your kiosk as well to offer an aspect of personalization that improves the customer’s experience even more. Order history or reordering options from the past help make ordering easier and offer a personalized touch.
There is a huge range of factors that can influence the effectiveness of a kiosk installation, but focusing on execution in these three strategic areas will definitely improve your implementation success.
Co-contributor: Victor Pierson