Kiosks Continue to Get Innovative

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Kiosks Continue to Get Innovative

By Bob Ingram - 05/04/2017

Food retailers are using kiosks in more ways than ever, and kiosk manufacturers are keeping pace with innovations.

“We have a recipe/coupon kiosk with a printer. It also displays our circular,” says Carol Carlson, director of digital marketing at East Windsor, Conn.-based Geissler’s Supermarkets.

Geissler’s has also started a program of printing coupons and hanging them in front of the products. “It boosts movement on those items,” Carlson notes. “We also print off some of the recipes and place them near product to give meal ideas.”

Carlson admits that she’s surprised by the number of circular views on the kiosk, because Geissler’s has physical circulars at its store entrances.

“The kiosk also gives nutritional information, and we have a less interactive kiosk that hangs over our deli department and displays local business ads, our circular and special items,” she says.

Located in the first aisle by the meat or deli section to give customers meal ideas before they shop, the recipe/coupon kiosk is used “frequently,” Carlson says, adding that in the future, a sandwich-ordering deli kiosk is a possibility.

Convenience and Customer Service

Kiosks are popular elsewhere as well. In Hilo, Hawaii, KTA Super Stores features a Coinstar coin exchange, and Redbox and local video rental kiosks, as well as DocNow, a telemedicine kiosk. KTA President Toby Taniguchi says these kiosks offer customers convenience and community service, as well as driving incremental purchases.

Regarding the installation of more kiosks in the future, Taniguchi adds, “We’re always open to what may be out there.”

Meanwhile, California’s Mollie Stone’s Markets offers coffee kiosks and is exploring their expansion to other locations, as well as the addition of juice and other trendy items.

“We were the first grocery store to have a Starbucks in our store, back in 1998,” says Mike Stone, president and CEO of the Mill Valley, Calif.-based retailer. “We now have three Starbucks and two Peet’s coffee kiosks.”

According to Stone, the kiosks are convenient and bring people into the stores, instead of their going to stand-alone coffee shops. “The customers appreciate it and enjoy a cup of coffee while shopping,” he says. “We also have ample parking, as opposed to customers trying to find street parking.”

Attractive Options

In response to this greater interest among retailers, kiosk manufacturers are stepping up.

Paul Burke, CMO at Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Zivelo, maker of nine lines of kiosk chassis, says that it’s added QSR Fast Casual Kiosks — the X line — which he calls “the perfect hardware solution for the growing number of embedded cafés and restaurants within grocery stores.”

The design provides an engagement vehicle for the increasingly digitized customer, Burke adds, creating more sales and higherticket sizes, as well as freeing up associates to focus on loyalty and customer satisfaction.

Kiosk Group Inc., in Frederick, Md., offers a line of tablet-based kiosk enclosures and mounts for various supermarket uses, including promotional information, loyalty programs, deli or quick-service ordering, and POS applications.

“We also create custom enclosures when clients need a specific look or form factor,” adds Kiosk Group President Mike James, “and can incorporate physical keyboards, thermal printers, card readers and bar code scanners.”

A new branding option at the company is magnetic bezel graphics, which allow customization of the area surrounding a tablet and quick and easy display graphics changes, according to James.

“We’re currently working on a countertop model paired with a physical keyboard, and the entire unit swivels 180 degrees,” he says, “and we’re also experimenting with some new advances in 3D printing.”

Coins of the Realm

Jim Weaks, VP of the self-service coin unit at Cummins Allison, in Mount Prospect, Ill., says the company has added a mixed-bag coin collection system to its Money Machine 2 self-service coin counter. “This option makes coin redemption more feasible for grocers whose limited coin pickup options have prevented them from offering coin counters in every location,” he explains. The solution lets store managers take the coins directly to the bank or have regularly scheduled armored-car pickups, which is beneficial in rural areas where limited pickup options have prevented offering coin redemption.

According to Weaks, Cummins Allison’s grocer customers have realized up to 5 percent in profit on their self-service coin programs, while other programs yield 1 percent to 2 percent.

And by using recycled coins from self-service machines, grocers can save up to $500 a month that they’d spend purchasing coins from a bank for their tills.

Self-starters

Frank Olea, CEO at Los Angeles-based Olea Kiosks, notes that his company markets its Metrolite kiosk for some supermarket applications because there are “ample opportunities for kiosks to further enhance the customer experience all along the shopping journey,” not just at checkout.

Olea says that the Metrolite is nimble and well equipped enough for use throughout the store, especially in smaller, boutique-like areas. Additionally, in 2016 Olea introduced its first kiosk with electronic height adjustment for shoppers with disabilities. “One button takes the unit up and down over a 10-inch vertical range,” he explains. “Right now, it’s only in our health care line, but the technology can serve any industry.”

Brian McClimans, VP of sales, Americas and APAC at Peerless-AV, in Aurora, Ill., says, “Of particular interest for grocers are our smaller-format self-service solutions, which are designed to accommodate small touchscreen displays.”

The company also offers large-format digital signage kiosks for advertising, digital merchandising, entertainment and wayfinding. Supermarkets can add components such as receipt printers, bar code scanners, key pads, audio systems and cameras.

Peerless-AV is partnering with display and software producers on solutions like self-service checkout kiosks, and kiosks to pick up online orders and order digital photos.

Good as Gold

Kevin Miller, COO at Goldstur, in Newport Beach, Calif., notes that Goldstur has “the world’s first and only fully automated kiosk for converting old or unwanted gold, silver and platinum jewelry into cash, and is specifically designed for busy locations like grocery stores.”

With a footprint of only 2 square feet, Goldstur can analyze an item and offer a cash voucher or gift card in just three minutes.

“Goldstur adds revenue and increases store traffic in a convenient and trustworthy environment,” he affirms. “We are receiving requests for installations across the country at a variety of grocers.”

The company is currently working on another project suitable for supermarkets, but Miller says, “It is still in ‘stealth mode’ right now, so I can’t give any details.”

What’s certain, though, is that supermarket kiosks will continue to evolve.