No matter the vertical market in which merchants play, retail kiosk implementation comprises an effective tactic for bolstering revenues, keeping operating expenses in check, and enhancing the customer experience. However, deployment costs are such that savvy store owners and managers must pay as much attention to the psychology of retail kiosk placement and usage as they do to selecting hardware and software. For best results, consider these principles:
1. Location is everything: The position of a retail kiosk in-store can make or break its success. Customers are far more inclined to patronize a kiosk that is situated near an entrance to the store rather than near an exit. The reason for this is two-fold. For one thing, most consumers are “shopped out” by the time they reach the exit doors; perusing a retail kiosk and its offerings is likely one of the last—if not the last—thing on their minds. Just as significantly, a retail kiosk that features way-finding capabilities or other shopping assistance holds the highest value for customers when it is “presented” to them at the beginning of their shopping trip.
Additionally, some retailers have found that retail kiosk usage increases when self-service units from which customers can purchase products are placed in locations staffed by store personnel. The same goes for price-checkers and other service-oriented kiosks. In these cases, shoppers view the retail kiosk as a convenient alternative to enduring long lines for personal assistance.
However, as much as customers like the speed and convenience afforded by kiosks in general, they will not be inclined to utilize the units if they are hard to find. Positioning in heavily-trafficked areas within the store is essential.
2. It’s the money, honey: The less rushed or pressured by hordes of other shoppers patrons feel, the more money they will probably spend during each shopping trip. For this reason, any retail kiosk that encourages lingering or entails a longer transaction (e.g., photo and “design-your-own-product” kiosks) is best positioned in an alcove or similar type of spot where it can be easily spotted from the store’s main “arteries,” without causing traffic jams and other discomfort for patrons.
3. There’s safety in numbers: Customers hate to wait—even if it’s just a few short minutes for their turn at a retail kiosk. Ensure that there is a sufficient number of units to minimize or eliminate wait times.
4. Don’t forget your staff: A well-maintained retail kiosk is a frequently used retail kiosk, but employees will be less inclined to devote adequate time for unit upkeep if handling the task is inconvenient for them. Consequently, every retail kiosk in the store should be installed so that staff can easily access the back of the unit to replenish supplies and perform maintenance.
5. Consistency and clarity: Advertising and promotional messages used to promote a retail kiosk platform must be the same as those used elsewhere in stores and on individual merchants’ websites. Consistent messages attract consumers to kiosks more effectively than using the units to showcase a wide variety of merchandise. Consistency also bolsters consumers’ confidence in a retailer’s products and services, in turn increasing their willingness to spend more money across the board.
Similarly, a customer’s inclination to use a retail kiosk increases – or decreases – with the clarity of the signage and marketing information created. Clarity helps customers focus their attention on the unit and makes instructions easier to understand. The more vague this collateral, the more the retail kiosk will sit idle.
Clearly, kiosks present a comprehensive set of benefits to merchants. But those that apply psychology to all elements of operation—from the number of units they deploy, to the manner in which the retail kiosk platform is promoted—are best positioned to maximize their investment in the technology going forward.