26th May 2010 / Tom Quarry
Demand for fast, convenient purchasing has seen the self-service industry boom in the last few years and it shows no sign of slowing as customers become more and more acquainted with their robotic friends.
Customers' needs and expectations for fast and convenient service are growing which means a traditional, more slowly-paced service can leave people frustrated, downing goods and walking away empty handed, taking your profits with them.
This is one of many reasons why the self-service checkout is surging in popularity. As of May 2010, Tesco leads the way with self-service counters in 256 UK stores, where they are responsible for a quarter of all transactions. Sainsbury’s is following suit, with a growing 220 stores offering self-service, and more set to follow. Wal-Mart has had self-service checkout lanes since 2004.
The UK’s leading supplier of self-service kiosks, Protouch, believe that interactive kiosks can bring a greater return on investment for your business and have put together an in-depth guide for companies looking to boost in-store sales.
In the guide, Protouch Marketing Manager Amanda Wallace explains it’s not just a case of plonking down a new kiosk and waiting for a flurry of revenue.
“Getting kiosk deployment right goes a long way to having a successful rollout. It needs to guide the customer through a clear on-screen journey. If the home screen looks too complex, too much like an advert or simply doesn't portray the purpose of the kiosk the customer may be put off. The idea is to invite the customer in and take them on a step by step journey leading to your target action.”
For a kiosk to do its job effectively customers need to know what and where it is, so positioning is just as crucial as presentation.
“Kiosks must be placed in a prime location so they are easily seen by customers, serviceable by staff and do not detract from an existing product display. It needs to be accessible to all potential users,” says Amanda.
“Use in-store advertising to lead customers to the kiosk and promote its function with branded messaging on the kiosk body. Try shopping from the customer's perspective to see where improvements can be made.”
Last October, Tesco broke new ground by introducing an Express store in Northampton where customers were served by only one member of staff and a host of self-service tills, yet the supermarket chain has no plans to ditch traditional manpower in favour of machines; opting instead a for a hybrid of the two.
So with both self-service and staffed check-outs here to stay, it’s advisable that they both get along.
“Your employees need to know that the kiosk is there as a selling tool to help them, not as substitute to them,” Amanda adds. “Explain what their new role is and how the kiosk operates so they feel confident in educating customers. The enthusiasm of your workforce will be your biggest asset in making a kiosk successful.”
You can read the full Protouch guide to boosting in-store sales at: http://beta.protouch.co.uk/ProtouchGuides/84/Goodbye_tills,_hello_kiosks_-_3_step_guide_to_boosting_in-store_sales