10 April 2019

By Dean CHALLINOR – Sales Manager, AURES UK

Self-service kiosks are starting to break out of the niche category of point of sale solutions and into the mainstream.

For years now, we have been used to seeing kiosks deployed as part of queue-busting and labour-saving strategies in places like supermarkets and airport departure lounges. But spearheaded by the likes of McDonald’s, kiosks have now gained a firm foothold in QSR and casual dining. With the UK’s biggest retail trade event and technology showcase fast approaching, we believe one of the hottest topics of conversation at this year’s RetailEXPO will be the roll out of the technology across the wider hospitality and retail ecosystem.

As things stand, there’s no doubt hospitality, and particularly the restaurant sector, is ahead of the curve on kiosk adoption. One of our partners joining us in exhibiting at RetailEXPO this year is KURVE KIOSKS. A leader in the hospitality self-service sector, KURVE has its bespoke software platform in more than 200 kiosk installations across the country.

Empowering customers

In a recent white paper analysing the impact kiosks have had for operators like McDonalds and Tossed, KURVE outlined four key benefits:

  • Reduced waiting times
  • Fewer mistakes with orders
  • Lower staffing costs
  • An increase in average spend per order – in McDonalds’ case, up by 30%.

In any deployment scenario, more efficient, faster service has to be the bottom line for a self-service kiosk – this was the main driver for supermarkets to introduce self-checkout earlier this decade. What are more interesting in terms of value-add are the second and fourth benefits listed.

Reducing mistakes with orders might be viewed as a service improvement metric relatively unique to restaurants and especially to QSR, where there is high turnover of orders and special requests can easily be lost. What really underpins this how kiosks empower the customer. If someone likes their burger a certain way, they may have been put off making special requests by past experiences where they have explained what they want to a sales assistant, only for the incorrect order to arrive. Customising an order through a computer screen, there is much less likelihood of something being lost in translation.

Making people feel comfortable about ordering what they want also encourages them to spend more. This is supplemented by the fact that a computerised system can be much more consistent in the way it up and cross-sells. Data from previous transactions can be used to recommend the items most commonly bought to accompany whatever the customer orders, increasing the likelihood of take-up. The contrasting popularity of different menu items over time can be used to inform specials and offers, taking into account things like seasonal variations.

Retail points of information

There is much here that translates well into retail, whether it be fashion, electronics, homeware or any other category. In retail, the empowerment angle becomes much more prominent when kiosks are thought of in terms of a point of information as much as a point of sale. The convenience of being able to look up product details and alternatives themselves without having to find a sales assistant, and getting the answer they need, will appeal to many shoppers.

Similarly, there is no reason why intelligence-driven cross and up-selling, targeted offers and flexible merchandising should not have the same impact on average spend and conversions from kiosks deployed in retail as has been seen in the casual dining sector.

The key is to have software designed to suit the specific purpose, to give customers the choices they want, the information they want, the recommendations and offers they want, the convenience they want. This in turn must be delivered through an attractive yet simple-to-use interface, a touchscreen UI which customers immediately feel comfortable and confident in using. The final ingredient is the terminals themselves, which is where AURES comes in – delivering robust, fully integrated, touchscreen kiosks built on our years of experience in POS hardware solutions.

AURES and a number of channel partners will be exhibiting at RetailEXPO at the Olympia, London 1st and 2nd May 2019.