Automated Kiosks in Food Retailing
The term “kiosk” has now become part of the lexicon, just as automated kiosks have become part of the supermarket experience.
- Automated kiosks offer the following benefits for consumers: a faster and more convenient checkout experience, time-saving benefits for retailers and their associates, and the ability for retailers to share relevant content with customers.
- In a world where shoppers are subject to thousands of daily marketing messages, kiosks can stand out as an interactive way to deliver customized information.
- Tablet kiosk technology has risen in popularity as retailers seek more compact yet durable and much more affordable kiosk hardware platforms than traditional kiosks.
“There are a variety of benefits to implementing automated kiosks in food retailing applications,” notes Rob Meiner, senior technical sales engineer at Aurora, Ill.-based Peerless-AV. “For customers, automated kiosks offer a faster and more convenient checkout experience where they can control the speed and bagging process. Automated kiosks also offer time-saving benefits for retailers and their staffs, as there will be fewer employees needed for checkout lanes, in turn creating more opportunities for profit.”
Another benefit of automated kiosks is the ability for retailers to share relevant content with customers because self-service kiosks are networked and can be remotely accessed and controlled from anywhere with an internet connection using cloud-based software, Meiner says.
Peerless-AV designs and manufactures standard and custom indoor and outdoor kiosks for many applications in food retailing, including self-service payment, digital signage, wayfinding and electrical vehicle-charging stations.
“We also offer all-in-one solutions where customers can seamlessly set up their kiosk right out of the box,” Meiner says. “From card readers to integrated touchscreens to cameras that gather crucial analytical data, our kiosks can be equipped with any technology to improve the customer experience.”
Peerless-AV’s design team meets with retail customers to discuss their needs and budget, and then designs kiosks accordingly. The company also offers tools to aid retailers in creating kiosks right from their own computers.
Coinstar can lay claim to having invented self-service coin-counting kiosks in the early 1990s. And while the company still has a single kiosk type in supermarkets, kiosk functionality and product offerings have evolved over the years, observes Michael Jack, VP of products at the Bellevue, Wash.-based company.
In the works from Kiosk Group: a custom coffee cup-label printing and ordering kiosk for coffee shops, full-transaction small-footprint kiosks, and wall-mount kiosks with adjustable height for ADA access, as well as a short-tall consumer viewing experience.
In the future, Guarino foresees custom ordering kiosks in many departments for when shelf products are low or stores don’t stock what the consumer is looking for — and including free home delivery to increase the consumer incentive not to shop around. “This would include the ability to order and pay directly from the kiosk, saving customers valuable time and reducing cashier assistance and labor at the front end,” she says.
Retailers will be literally stepping up to kiosk value and variety — and consumers will be right behind them.