The Perspective 
Friday, 03 August 2007
Rufus Connell is research director of information technology for business research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.
 
In recent discussions with key hardware and software vendors on the state of self-service technologies, I’ve heard the same question repeated: Why are kiosks hot in some markets, but cold in others?
 
In my observation, perhaps the most consistent factor for success is that a kiosk delivers one primary function for the end-user. For example, air travelers are trying to get on planes; airline self-check-in works. Photographers are trying to buy prints; photo kiosks work. Shoppers are trying to buy groceries, self-checkout works. Conversely, I’ve seen numerous kiosks deployed with an if-you-build-it-they-will-come mentality that never got out of trial, or if they did, never got much use.
 
Another factor that seems to make successful kiosk programs is a strong up-front commitment by senior executives. Kiosks are a complicated solution; they require coordination with an organization’s IT staff, marketing staff, on-site staff and more. Missing any one of these can be a deal breaker.
 
Solution providers tell me that one of the most common killers of a trial is that “Mr. Kiosk” leaves the client organization, and the replacement just can’t keep the key stakeholders together. When the C-Suite decides it wants kiosks, the rest of the stakeholders seem to fall in line.
 
I think the previous point is related closely to the biggest kiosk project deal breaker, which is that many organizations just are not set up for a successful kiosk program.
 
Kiosks are known to be good at linebusting, but how does one account for the employees that currently service the line? For example, we’ve seen growing penetration of kiosks in the hospitality industry, but it has been well below expectations of kiosk vendors. The problem in this application is that major hotels, where linebusting is appealing, often have unionized employees, and those unions are fighting technologies that might displace workers.
 
Large deployments of kiosks need to have a strong impact on the business. This usually will mean that the business must be willing to re-architect some of its business practices, including renegotiating contracts with suppliers, unions and more.
 
While many organizations have evaluated some sort of linebusting solution and have made the hard changes to make the process work, others are looking at kiosks to be force multipliers. They are asking kiosks to provide answers to customers that a store associate just can’t answer. But the problem here is one of data and partnerships. Where does a retailer or kiosk vendor get the data to empower the kiosk? A small handful of retailers seem to have found an answer: They are deploying kiosks and requiring their suppliers to provide content to the network.
 
So, what does all of this mean? If you want a successful kiosk program, ask these questions:
 
1. Is your application something customers already come to the store to do?
2. Can you get the right internal stakeholders on board?
3. Can your business process accommodate kiosks today, or do you need to make changes?
4. Do you have the content required to make your kiosk work, and can you keep it fresh?
 
Posted by: Rufus Connell AT 12:21 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
Comments:

Post comment
Name
 *
Email Address

Message
(max 750 characters)
*
Verify image below
*
* Required Fields
Note: All comments are subject to approval. Your comment will not appear until it has been approved.

PROJECT HELP 

Our members are among the most prominent and respected suppliers of digital signage, kiosk, self-service and mobile technology solutions.

Request project help from DSA members

 The Perspective 
Latest Posts
Archive
Categories

Testimonials 
Twitter 
Tweets by @iDigScreenmedia

Digital Screenmedia Association | 13100 Eastpoint Park Blvd. Louisville, KY 40223 | Phone: 502-489-3915 | Fax: 502-241-2795

ASSOCIATION SPONSORS

     

Website managed by Networld Media Group