The Perspective 
Wednesday, 27 August 2014

By Dan Brown
RMG Networks


Less is more. It's a phrase that gets used often and one that came to mind recently as I heard about the results of a company's decision related to a digital signage deployment.

In this particular instance, the company's goal was to build out a digital signage network on three different floors of their office building. The company spent tens of thousands of dollars on server hardware, various server software licenses, digital signage software, media players, mounting brackets, video transmitters and receivers, cabling - you get the idea. The list goes on and on and the dollars added up to a large capital investment. Obviously the problem that needed solving was important, so an investment was made.

What could possibly go wrong?

This was an infrastructure install resulting from a move into a new building. In order to cut costs, the company decided to repurpose existing 32" flat panel displays from their old building. These displays were showing their age. I'm sure you've seen the type - the ones that have that have amber tint on the right half of the display like someone spilled coffee on it. Yikes!

The majority of the displays were mounted on a high overhang of inner perimeter hallways. Potential hallway viewers either walked right under the displays without noticing them or had to lean against a cubicle wall and look almost straight up (a la front-row-of movie-theater effect). The displays were also too small to see past the first two rows of cubicles, rendering them ineffective for the other 80% of potential viewers.

After thousands of dollars of investment, skimping on the final and most important part of the digital signage installation ruined the objective of the whole system.

What should have happened?

The company should have heeded the previously mentioned old adage and scaled back. Instead of servicing three floors, they could have deployed only the two most important floors at the onset and invested the third floor savings in larger and higher quality displays.

Hiring a professional digital signage consultant to help plan display locations in order to reach the most viewers (and right viewers) would have yielded a better result and a better ROI. The company's on screen messaging was important (no doubt) for employees to see. So it stands to reason that the greater the influence the message could deliver, the greater the measurable ROI. Had this influence and ROI been properly recognized, the argument to approve costs to extend the installation to the third floor would have become natural.

This all brings to mind another saying: the most brilliant book cannot be read and appreciated if it isn't opened. For our market, this translate to a digital signage system isn't effective if it can't be seen.

Posted by: Admin AT 08:01 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  
Wednesday, 20 July 2011
The Digital Screenmedia Association has released a first version of the DSA ROI Calculator to its members for review and comment.
“Return on investment is a critical factor in the planning and measurement of digital screen media networks. Understanding the costs and benefits in a comprehensive way lends tremendous clarity to the process,” said Matt Schmitt, president of Reflect Systems and chair of the DSA ROI Task Force.
DSA’s task force on ROI was formed with the goal of providing an ROI framework to be created and maintained by a cross-functional team comprising industry analysts and consultants, vendors and association members that represent end-users.
ROI considerations contemplated and included in the ROI calculator model include:
• Type of venue 
• Goals of the network (sales lift, customer experience, advertising, training and cost savings)
• Scope (number of locations, number of displays per location)
• Content strategy
• Costs for capital investments and operating expenses

A screen shot of the results page.

The ROI Task Force gathered data from respective organizations and industry sources, discussed the scope and the approach to be used in the ROI framework, and have planned for future updates to be more inclusive of all the types of screen media applications, such as interactive kiosks and mobile devices. The first version (marked as a beta model) is intended to provide DSA members with a working tool to be useful right away, while also providing a way to give DSA feedback, questions and suggestions for improvements. 
Based on feedback on the first versions of the ROI tool, which is spreadsheet-based, DSA will likely begin to develop an online version.  
“As the team leader for the DSA ROI Task Force, I’ve been excited to work on such a rewarding project. There is no doubt it's a challenging endeavor – not because ROI is difficult to explain, but because there are various types of digital screen media deployments and business models, as well as a number of factors that influence the expenditures and benefits,” said Schmitt. “I'm confident that, with the collaboration of committee members, their respective organizations, the DSA and association members, we're off to a good start in providing valuable tools for the benefit of our entire industry.”

The DSA ROI Calculator is available immediately to DSA members. To learn more about membership in DSA, click here.

Posted by: The Perspective AT 12:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  
Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Return on investment, or ROI, is a critical consideration for any technology investment. With digital screenmedia networks (digital signage, kiosks, etc.), the need for calculating and considering ROI is especially important, given the capital costs of many networks and the ongoing expenses required to maintain them.

The Digital Screenmedia Association’s task force on ROI was formed with the goal of providing an ROI framework to be created and maintained by a cross-functional team comprising industry analysts and consultants, vendors and association members that represent end-users.

ROI considerations reflected in the framework:

• Type of venue (retail, corporate, healthcare, transportation, etc)
• Type of screenmedia (digital signage, kiosks, multipurpose displays)
• Goals of the network (sales lift, customer experience, advertising, self-service applications)
• Scope (number of locations, number of displays per location)
• Content strategy
• Deployment model (on-premise, hosted, managed services)

ROI task force members:

  • Chair: Matt Schmitt, Reflect Systems
  • Sean Andersen, Six Flags
  • Michael Chase, St. Joseph Content
  • Bill Collins, DecisionPoint Media
  • Paul Flanigan, The Preset Group 
  • Scott Francis, PRN
  • Rocky Gunderson, SeeSaw Networks
  • Pat Hellberg, Kaicon
  • Janice Litvinoff, Cisco
  • Bob Michaels, Magenta Research
  • Mike Parkinson, LG Electronics
  • Mark Webster, Rollouts

We have gathered data from respective organizations and industry sources, discussed the scope and the approach to be used in the ROI framework release cycle and plan a near-term introduction of the first deliverable. The current plan is to introduce a first-version ROI document and calculator package October 1, 2010. This first version includes an introductory document outlining the assumptions and considerations used, along with instructions on how to use the included ROI calculator to easily input relevant information and arrive at a simple ROI model. This version of the framework is most useful for "passive" digital signage implementations and does not yet dive into some of the elements specifically related to interactive kiosks or self-service applications.

Future plans of the committee (certainly to be influenced by association membership and feedback) may include considerations for multiple analysis models based on network types and goals of the organization. It's well understood that it is difficult to maintain a single ROI input and calculator model that will work accurately for all types of screenmedia projects. Based on feedback on the first version (which is document- and spreadsheet-based) the committee may then work with the DSA to launch an online tool that uses a wizard type of approach to reviewing the ROI models.

It's exciting to work on such a critical project. There is no doubt it's a challenging endeavor – not because ROI is difficult to explain, but because there are so many flavors of digital screenmedia deployments and business models. But I'm confident that with the committee members, their respective organizations, and the DSA and association members we'll provide some beneficial tools and information for the benefit of everyone.

The committee could greatly benefit from member input on a number of things, including:

• opinions on the most critical ROI elements
• most important measurement criteria (sales lift, ad revenue, cost savings, etc)
• realistic cost savings criteria when using digital (over static signage, non-networked digital solutions, etc)

This type of valuable input is always appreciated and will greatly help the ROI task force deliver the best information possible.

Feel free to forward any feedback, ideas, or questions to me at anytime.

Matt Schmitt is CEO and founder of Reflect Systems, a leading provider of digital media solutions. He also serves as chairman of the DSA's task force on ROI.

See also: DSA's webinar on Digital Signage ROI

Posted by: The Perspective AT 06:45 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  
Monday, 27 July 2009
Much was revealed from a survey of European banks with digital signage performed this spring by digital marketing agency John Ryan. The company compiled the findings and presented them in a webinar last month entitled "Digital Signage in Retail Financial Services: What John Ryan’s European Survey Means for Your Bank.”
The panel for the presentation consisted of Paco Underhill, Envirosell founder and CEO, Mike Hiatt, former director of Wal-Mart's "SMART" digital media network, and Bob Steele, vice chairman of John Ryan.
Although many good points were made in the hour-long presentation and Q&A, there were three key points that emerged from the research and conversation:
A John Ryan digital signage installation at Caja Mediterráneo.
Insight #1: Early adopters are facing real challenges in creating, localizing, and managing content.
It seems that the enthusiasm for digital signage for European bank branches is there – the survey said that 90 percent have deployed digital signage or are planning to deploy soon – but the real challenge comes after the fact. Keeping content fresh, or “feeding the monster,” as it is sometimes called, seems to be causing the most grief for deployers.
“The very promise of this medium – the ability to narrowly target fresh and relevant messaging – is far more laborious than expected,” Steele said. “Even more banks would be using digital signage for in-branch messaging if they could find an easy way to do it.”
The reasons cited for not keeping content fresh were many: lack of tools, management systems not being Web-accessible, a lack of internal workflow systems and a lack of awareness about how to manage the medium.
Few bank branches are going to have staff whose sole task is to update the digital signage content. But there are other ways of keeping it fresh without extra personnel.
Steele talked about the Japanese bank Toyota Financial Services, where kiosks were put in place that encouraged female patrons to share their views on family finances. Responses are dynamically posted on the media wall behind the kiosks. Thus, the content is always fresh and completely user-generated.
Steele also mentioned some other ways to easily update content: link to the Web so that updates automatically update screens; Use weekly sales results to determine what promotions appear in the content; Provide portals for segment managers to update templates specific to their branch or segment; Use content from external news sources, but be sure to visually render them in your brand format.
Insight #2: Relevance is the new king.
The word “relevance” seems to be taking over “content” in the digital signage cliché “Content is king,” and rightfully so.
“At Wal-Mart, when we tested more relevant content, customers responded favorably,” Mike Hiatt said. “Even the most simple use of context helps patrons understand that the content is specifically for them, and it’s not broadcast TV. Content is something they can act on.”
So what is relevance? According to Steele, it’s the result of putting marketing analytics to work in the branch for the first time. In other words, banks can now take action on improving in-branch communication based on what their customers want.
Signage over ATMs at Caja Mediterráneo.
He cited the example of Caja Mediterráneo, which offers its Channel CAM network in 500 European branches. However, no two branches play the same content and each branch can control what is shown locally. Messages are displayed in any one of eight different languages, depending on the location. About 70 percent of the content is public service information, such as local employment and real-estate listings. The rest is bank promotions and brand messages, and most of that is based on individual branch sales performance from the previous week.
Relevance isn’t just about the content, either. It can also come in the form of screen placement within the branch.
“When we consider relevance we also have to think about where and when content will seem most relevant to the bank customer,” Paco Underhill said. “We have recognized customers are actually more receptive to messages after they have accomplished their mission at the branch. One of the classic issues with marketing messages is to recognize that the journey from the back of the branch to the front is often one of the most important places to communicate.”
Insight #3: Digital signage represents strategy from the top down, but the tactics have to come from the floor up.
This is a two way street for the bank executives who pull the trigger on a digital signage network and the managers and employees who have to run them. Branch employees have to embrace the technology when it is installed.
“One of the issues with digital signage is getting the branches themselves to buy into the larger concept,” Underhill said. “They need to see that the screen isn’t something that is given to them from on high, but is a fundamental, essential part of their business.”
On the floor level, Underhill says that branches need to work to be a place where the bank and the customer can touch, and digital signage can help facilitate that. He says that especially in this economic climate, banks need to “Recognize the role of the branch in the financial education of its customer base. We need our customers to be more sophisticated and in tune with what the idea of money is and what the management of money is.”
Posted by: Bill Yackey AT 01:03 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
Monday, 05 May 2008
Whatever your business, you're almost certainly familiar with the benefits of self-service kiosks. Conducting transactions via an automated platform cuts staffing costs, boosts efficiency and creates added convenience for your customers. Thanks to these advantages, self-service payment systems are becoming marketplace staples.
Perhaps you've considered kiosks for your company. You've investigated costs and calculated the potential ROI. But have you developed a kiosk customer strategy?
Consumer acceptance of any automated payment platform is critical to your program's success and profitability. Before designing your kiosk, you must understand what the consumer will minimally accept and how he or she will respond to new options. For which types of transactions will customers use kiosks? Will customers demand person-to-person transactions in some cases? What do customers anticipate regarding forms of payment accepted? The forms of change offered? Before you build, develop a plan to manage and meet customer expectations.
If you build it, will they come? And will they stay?

There are plenty of cases in which customers prefer automated transactions at the point of sale. Personally, I prefer to use an automated platform at quick-service restaurants rather than interact with a cashier — I think my order is processed faster and more accurately when I input the data myself. On the other hand, I rarely use ATMs because I prefer to deal with a teller who knows me and understands the transactions I want to complete. I'm especially uncomfortable using ATMs for complex transactions, such as paying my mortgage.
I also have preferences about forms of payment at a kiosk. While I often choose the convenience of a credit card, in some cases I pay by check. In other circumstances, I prefer the anonymity of cash. And when I use cash, I want my change in cash, too — not as a credit on my next bill or purchase.
Consider your customer base and current POS model. Will a new kiosk meet current expectations? And if it doesn't, will customers leave?
Your kiosk strategy

When crafting a kiosk strategy, first choose between partial or total automation. Partial automation is ideal if a significant segment of customers will not accept automation of all transactions, or if you don't want to offer a full range of payment options at the kiosk. You could, for instance, automate only credit card transactions, accepting other forms of payment via cashiers. This solution allows for simpler kiosks, but does not completely eliminate staffing costs.
A total-automation solution, on the other hand, may create greater efficiency for customers and a greater ROI for you as wait times are reduced and staffing costs disappear. Total automation, however, requires a more complex platform if you intend to accept multiple forms of payment.
This brings us to your next decision: selecting accepted forms of payment and methods for providing change. Consider the types of payment and change to which your customers are accustomed. Offering fewer options may cut your costs, but how will customers react? Will the consumer accept a diminished set of offerings in an automated platform or will the reduced flexibility generate resentment?
Keeping options open

An ideal successful kiosk will process every type of transaction available through a company's current point of sale model. Consumers expect consistent payment and change options, regardless of transaction medium.
Should you limit types of payment accepted at a kiosk, consider implementing a consumer education program prior to launch. At a minimum, provide clear signage regarding payment and change issuance. If a customer waits in line to pay by credit card only to discover at the last minute that the kiosk is cash-only, frustration will result.
You also should consider cost-effective, customer-satisfying kiosk upgrades. In the United States, the credit-card-only platform is straightforward and fairly common and could be offered, for example, as part of a high-speed experience at a retail location. But for a reasonable cost, you could add a Triple-DES PIN pad, enabling PIN-debit transactions as well.
Show them the money

If, in a traditional transaction, I pay for a $12.75 purchase with a $20 bill, I expect the cashier to provide $7.25 change — in cash. Customers will expect automated platforms to provide change in cash, too.
If your kiosk doesn't include a change dispenser, this should be disclosed prior to payment. You should carefully consider customer reaction. Some bill-payment kiosks, for example, credit overpayment to the next month's bill, but customers generally respond negatively. For a compromise solution, place a "bill breaker" adjacent to your kiosk. Consumers can pay using the smallest possible denominations, limiting their exposure to $0.99 at the most.
Customer reaction determines success

In short, consumer acceptance will define the success of kiosk deployment. If the automated platform does not handle my preferred form of payment or does not provide change in the form I expect, I may not use it. If I'm forced to use it, through the elimination of other options, I may resent it. Neither are desirable results.
Automating a point of sale requires careful study of consumer expectations. When planning your deployment strategy, your ROI model must take into account the level of automation that can be achieved with the component mix selected for the platform. The key question, in essence: Is a simpler platform, with a limited set of payment and change options for highly targeted consumers, more beneficial than a complex platform with many payment and change options that targets a larger set of consumers?
The answers depend on your line of business, your location, your current POS model and other factors specific to your situation. The good news is that answers can be found through careful research — and that you don't have to find them on your own.  Work with your management team and kiosk designer, an expert in the field who can point you to products and components suited to your needs. With collective input and careful consideration of customer expectations, you can build kiosks that will serve your customers and your company well.
Posted by: AT 11:22 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
Monday, 05 November 2007
Information collected at the cash register is a rich pool of data that can help retailers ratchet up the effectiveness of their digital signage networks.
The concept is simple: Take the millions of lines of time-stamped playlist data from the signage network, place them alongside the millions of lines of time-stamped sales data from the POS, and compare. Look for patterns that reveal which bits of content are having an impact on sales.
"As soon as the tools for analyzing POS data against campaign schedules and specific content become standardized and easy to use, this metric will beat any other ROI measurements in retail digital signage," said Nurlan Urazbaev, director of marketing for BroadSign International.
The challenges
While the data is on the network, waiting to be mined, most retailers are not using it. Bill Gerba, president of WireSpring Technologies, said about one-third to one-half of retailers with digital-signage networks are doing meaningful analysis of their playlist/POS correlation. The number is considerably higher for retailers that include self-service and kiosks in the mix, "probably because the kiosks are driving some kind of transaction that’s of a high value to them, and they want to know how to convert it better," he said.
Pure digital signage may not be transactional in nature, but its output data still can be analyzed and solid information can be extrapolated. What happened to sales of a specific brand of cookies when its ads were run — and what happened at the same time to the generics? Which spots provided the largest surges in sales of advertised products, and how did time-of-day have an impact? All of these can be tangibly measured when playlist data is taken out of its silo and placed alongside the real-world store data.
"Integrating digital signage systems to in-store systems is vital to the success of the concept," said Dick Trask, director of public relations for Scala. "Digital signage needs to become an integral part of the in-store marketing strategy and not a lone wolf vying for recognition."
Two major challenges exist for retailers: IT capabilities and the flexibility to react to what is learned.
In large corporations, IT bandwidth is less of a problem, since there usually are programmers in-house already familiar with the POS system and the way it stores data. For instance, Trask said the U.K. grocery chain Tesco built its own middleware between its POS and digital signage systems. Smaller retailers may have a tougher time creating this bridge.
Understanding the broad view of which types of content are having the biggest impact on sales can be a major asset for the creative team — and can provide solid data to executives on the value of the signage network.
A third-party solution
For companies unable or unwilling to build their own POS/digital signage analysis tools, there is at least one turnkey third-party solution. Helmed by former executives from Microsoft, MSN and Amazon, DS-IQ’s analytics engine correlates digital signage and POS data, outputting it to a set of custom dashboards on the Web.
"While a campaign is still in-flight, you can get detailed feedback on precisely what is working and what’s not, while there’s still time to make a positive difference," said June Eva Peoples, vice president of business development for DS-IQ.
One possible downside, Gerba said, is that retailers can be reluctant to open their POS data to outside entities.
Peoples would not reveal pricing for the DS-IQ service, but said it "more than pays for itself by optimizing category sales lift."

Posted by: James Bickers AT 11:12 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
Tuesday, 02 October 2007
At the In-Store Marketing Expo in Chicago last week, I attended a session called “Measuring and Continuously Improving Digital Sign Network ROI.” The presenters were Brian Brooks and Kelly Canavan of 3M.
Brooks, with PhDs in cognitive psychology and neuroscience, has taken his knowledge of how the brain works and applied it to measuring the effectiveness of digital signage. To make his case, Brooks laid the groundwork by reporting on experiments that were done to measure what is going on at the brain level as it relates to branding.
In a blind taste test, consumers were asked to describe the Coke or Pepsi they were given versus a “generic” brand. What they discovered is that the taste testers thought that the Coke or Pepsi tasted better than the generic brand even though in fact the “generic” was really Coke or Pepsi. “Branding doesn’t just change our emotional experience, but literally our physical reaction,” he said.
Brooks and 3M claim to have developed a method, using “vision science technologies,” to engineer a physical environment to achieve the desired results. In other words, 3M says they can take what they’ve learned in the lab – with humans wearing special goggles detecting eye movement – and apply it to real environments without humans and goggles.
As an example, Brooks showed a picture of a typical big box store and with numbers, showed the first four places the eyes would look. In this case, to a static sign on a table, then on to other static signage. The next picture showed the same scene, only this time a digital sign was added. Since the digital sign had a brown color on the page, the eye traveled to other places first and the digital sign last. But once the color on the digital sign was changed to yellow, the eye went to the sign first.
As Brooks would explain the science, Canavan would interject or interpret how it was relevant to the business world. When we walk into a store, “it’s not that we’re trying to decide what to look at, we’re trying to decide what to ignore,” explained Canavan.
Canavan went on to present case studies of hotel and foodservice environments which benefited from the implementation of digital signage. In the first pilot, a hotel was looking to increase sales at its restaurants. Sales increased 15-35% per day when digital signage content was used to promote the restaurants.
In the second pilot, the objective was to drive foot traffic to a specific station in a corporate cafeteria. When that station and a particular product were featured on digital signs, 27.8% more consumers went to the desired station and sales of the featured product increased five times.
With these vision science principles and tools, 3M asserts you can determine the best sign location and creative content for those screens. By conducting experiments in the field and analyzing the data, Canavan contends, you can determine the cause-and-effect relationships and make methodical adjustments for improvement.
We all know there’s an art to effective marketing, but now there’s a little more science to it.
Posted by: David Drain AT 11:51 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
Monday, 19 June 2006
Self-service innovation is rapidly growing and changing with no sign of slowing down. Research indicates that customers have moved from acceptance of self-service choices to demand of the technology. Clearly, it is no longer a question of whether to implement the technology, but rather where and how to do so for the most impact on customer service and return on investment (ROI).
It is vital that retailers understand what lies ahead for this ever-evolving technology. Three key areas of innovation are leading the way in the move to a self-everything world: footprint, new technologies and ergonomics.
Smaller Footprints
Space is an important commodity in the world of retail. Fortunately, self-checkout technology is evolving to accommodate smaller footprints. Space-restricted retailers such as convenience stores, drug stores, specialty shops and department stores can now benefit from space-saving versions of self-checkout.
Current, as well as future, adopters of the technology will benefit from smaller self-checkout hardware that frees up more floor space, providing opportunities to offer better customer service and improvements to the bottom line.
Introduction of New Technologies
Radio frequency identification (RFID) and other emerging technologies have launched a new wave of possibilities for self-service solutions. Examples include:
  • Enhanced payment options, including contactless (RFID-enabled) payment and fingerprint recognition, provide consumers and retailers with added convenience and efficiency
  • Integrated Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) deactivation antennas increase customer convenience by deactivating EAS tags while ensuring security for store owners
  • Multiple language capabilities break down language barriers and open the world of self-checkout to customers across a spectrum of cultures

Looking to the future, RFID readers may someday be integrated with self-checkout, as well as assisted-service checkout, to read RFID tags on individual merchandise packages. Germany’s METRO Group has installed self-checkout with an RFID reader in its RFID Innovation Center. In this METRO Group demonstration, the self-checkout deactivates the merchandise security function of the RFID tag on selected merchandise during the scanning process, enabling customers to exit the store without triggering a security alarm.

Ergonomic Enhancement
With consumer acceptance no longer a barrier, technology providers and retailers are focusing more attention on improving the usability of self-checkout solutions. Look for continuing enhancements around solution design and management, to include making the user interface even faster and easier to use. Screens will provide more advanced functionality and richer multi-media content with “multi-pathing” – a feature allowing shoppers to conduct transactions in the personalized way that seems most logical to them. Hardware design will continue to provide incremental improvements to the transaction “flow” while better assisting those with disabilities.
Where is Your Self-Checkout Headed?
It’s clear that self-checkout technology is rapidly growing and evolving. For retailers who wish to stay ahead of the competition, the key to successful implementation depends on an experienced, yet innovative technology partner who knows the retail industry inside and out.
Mike Webster is vice president and general manager for NCR Self-Service. He leads all aspects of the self-service business for NCR’s Retail Solutions Division, including the NCR FastLane self-checkout and NCR EasyPoint kiosk lines, as well as airport self-check-in and other travel industry solutions from Kinetics, a subsidiary of NCR, and medical self-service solutions from Galvanon, an NCR company.
Posted by: Mike Webster AT 02:03 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
Monday, 24 April 2006
Many grocery chains are deploying self-service kiosks throughout their stores. But are the myriad applications on these kiosks really delivering value to customers and retailers?
For the past several years, a number of solution providers and grocery retailers have experimented with kiosk self-service. And the most important information obtained from these experiments is customer response. Customers like some applications and dislike others.
Two applications in-particular – deli self-ordering and recipe or meal solution recommendations - stand out for the value and convenience they provide the customer and the ROI they deliver to the retailer. They should, therefore, take precedence – not be buried beneath other, less-profitable applications.
With deli kiosks, a customer places an order, continues shopping, and later swings by to pick up the finished order — a very productive and efficient process. But it’s also important that the application keep the customer returning to the store.
An ideal deli self-order application features all the content and bells and whistles that make it the most convenient and productive option for the customer.
Those features include:
  • Speed and ease of use
  • Up-to-date content, especially for pricing and inventory status
  • Order history that shows frequently ordered items
  • The up-sell and cross-sell of other products and services
  • Ability to use a loyalty card or PIN to view buying history and/or receive special offers
  • Ability to shop by dietary needs, such as low-sodium, gluten-free and low-carb
  • Ability to order all deli items, not just meats and cheeses, for instance
Finally, the deli application should have robust admin/maintenance capabilities, and it should be tightly integrated with the deli’s scale-management system.

Recipe recommendations help busy customers get quick suggestions for meals and are extremely well used. An ideal software solution, for example, would allow a customer to scan a package of ground beef and quickly receive several recipes for beef. The customer then selects and prints one or more of the recipes, which includes an ingredients list.
Like the deli application, the recipe application must be robust enough to keep customers coming back.
Those two applications are the “killer apps” for self-service in the grocery store. And while the self-ordering model also could be deployed in other grocery departments, such as bakery, meat or seafood, self-service in the deli makes the most sense, because it provides returns and convenience for the retailer and customer.
No other self-service application deployed in grocery stores has equal potential for the high utilization rates and ROI that the deli and recipe applications have.
How does a retailer formulate strategies for deploying self-service kiosk applications? Start small, with two to four kiosks for deli self-ordering, recipes and, perhaps, bakery self-ordering.
A good approach is to front the applications with a common custom-branded portal, or user interface, that facilitates maintaining a consistent look-and-feel.
Another point: Try leveraging any existing Web or e-commerce presence. That can be as sophisticated as establishing multi-channel transactions that function across both the Web and kiosk or as simple as making the two platforms merely look similar.
Self-service is about convenience, speed of use and productivity. Retailers should be wary of overloading the kiosks with too many applications and essentially overwhelming customers with too many options. This will confuse and frustrate the customer and leave a bad impression of self-service. A customer who is frustrated is not likely to return to that kiosk, or worse, to that store. Essentially, retailers should start with proven self-service applications and build from there, letting customers dictate which self-service options should be added.
Posted by: Juan Perez AT 01:50 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
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