Blog: Frank Olea 

Frank Olea (bio)
Olea Kiosks, Inc.

Thursday, 01 May 2014

New kiosk technologies empower organizations to increase revenue, reduce operating expenses and improve customer satisfaction in an ever-widening range of applications and environments. At the same time, equipment options are increasingly complex and they demand careful consideration of the human reasons why people use – or don’t use – kiosks. Given the costs involved with kiosk deployment, it’s worthwhile to understand the psychology behind effective kiosk placement.

Location: Put the kiosks near the people

Kiosks receive the most usage when they’re placed where the most people are, and the first characteristic of a successful kiosk is always its location. As a general rule, placement near entrances is better than near exits, since shoppers are still “fresh” when they enter a retail store, and, kiosks which offer way-finding or customer-intake functions are going to generate maximum value to customers when placed near entrances.

When kiosks are spread throughout a larger area, such as a retail store, units should be located along popular pathways where people will easily find them, unless doing so would cause a “traffic jam.” And since people don’t like to wait, especially when they’re buying something, a sufficient number of units should be deployed to ensure that users are quickly and conveniently served. Another way to increase the level of customer service and convenience is to place service-oriented and self-service product purchasing kiosks in locations staffed by “live” personnel in order to further reduce waiting times.

Since people tend to spend more money when they’re not hurried or feeling pressured by crowds, certain types of devices which require longer transactions or invite users to linger, such as photo kiosks, should be located in nooks or alcoves where they can still be easily seen from the traffic pathways, yet without causing crowding or delays for passersby.

Out of sight equals out of mind

Although it may be tempting to place a kiosk in a location next to an existing electrical outlet, in the long term, it may be more cost-effective and more profitable to simply install new electrical wiring to serve a kiosk in its optimal location, rather than placing it in an out-of-the-way location with less traffic.

Convenience for staff is just as important as convenience for customers, but don’t sacrifice location for convenience

Staff members, especially those responsible for cleaning kiosks and re-stocking printer-receipt media and other routine necessities, love convenience as much as customers do. So, to ensure the best performance and appearance of the equipment, kiosks should be placed in ways that allow easy access to the footprint space, particularly in the back of the unit, where supplies are loaded and maintenance is performed.

Strength in numbers

Kiosks represent a major investment for any organization, yet it’s important to avoid the psychology of false economy when deciding how many units to buy. Even if well placed, when there are too few units to serve a location, problems often arise, including long wait lines, which result in reduced sales and dissatisfied users. It’s best to plan for a deployment which provides enough kiosks to ensure good coverage even if a unit is down for maintenance. With plenty of equipment, sales are maximized and the customer experience is enjoyable.

A consistent advertising message reassures users and increases sales

People spend more money and feel more confident about an organization’s products and services when it offers a consistent advertising message across all platforms, including kiosks. And although the natural instinct in a sales environment is to offer buyers the widest possible range of product choices, people are most attracted to kiosks whose first display features a simple, consistent advertising message. Likewise, to ensure user satisfaction, a kiosk deployment’s related signage and marketing information should provide clear and concise guidance to clients regarding tasks the kiosks can or cannot perform, even while urging them to use the equipment.

When kiosk placements are based on an understanding of human psychology, they offer enormous benefits for most organizations.

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