Insights

The Self-Service Kiosk Playbook

By Aila Staff

September 24, 2020

Self-service kiosks provide a better way to meet customer demands

Today’s self-service kiosks are used at every step of the customer journey. From the point of entry (check-in, returns, registration), to the point of sale (self-checkout). 

Self-service kiosks reduce common customer pain points such as long lines, unanswered questions, or the inability to find what they are looking for.

Alongside the need of the customer is your need as a business: the need to manage costs, prevent waste, and use your staff and resources effectively. 

As you start planning out what your self-service solution will look like, it’s important to list both the business and customer challenges you can solve now and in the future. 

Platform vs. Point Solution

Self-service kiosks can be used to solve a variety of specific challenges. Many kiosk manufacturers produce inexpensive point solutions that are quick to deploy, but do not meet the demands of high-traffic and offer very limited functionality. 

Rather than deploying disconnected point solutions throughout your locations that are difficult to service and maintain,  self-service kiosks like ours provide organizations the flexibility to deploy an endless array of self-service options— all on one platform. 

Platform solutions are also easy to service and support over point technologies since they are built on the same hardware, operating system and underlying technologies. They can (and should) also be flexible enough to easily add printers, payment terminals, and offer a wide variety of mounting options to fit your space. 

Consider Budget and Timing

The next critical step in deploying your self-service experience is to determine budget and timing. Larger deployments can be done all at once or on a rolling basis, depending on your needs. Make sure to ask about manufacturing lead times and plan accordingly. 

Selecting Hardware/Software

Your organization most likely already has a technology stack in place. Your job will be to determine how this solution will fit into that stack in the most seamless way possible. Further, you’ll need to determine how deeply the solution will integrate with your current stack and where, if possible, it can replace outdated systems and processes. 

Consumer Tablets Options 

As more businesses look to self-service kiosks to drive productivity and sales while maintaining the need for social distancing,  today’s readily available consumer tablets provide a significant advantage over yesterday’s rigid, bulky and expensive legacy devices. 

Like any major technology deployment, there are several factors to consider when choosing a platform for self-service kiosks. A good place to start is the kiosk operating system. 

Today, the mobile and tablet landscape is comprised of three major OS players: iOS, Android and Windows. Here’s a short comparison of each platform in four main categories: performance, security, support, and cost. 

Performance

When it comes to processing power, there seem to be some clear winners and losers. Based on Geekbench 5 scores comparing 2019 iPad 10.2″ and 2018 12.9″ iPad Pro vs the leading “enterprise” Android Kiosks, the benchmark concluded that these Android devices had the same processing power of iPhone 5s which debuted in 2013. That places major Android-based kiosks a decade behind competing iOS devices.

Security

The proprietary nature of iOS and its exclusivity to Apple devices is a strong advantage for iPad-based kiosks in terms of device security. All apps in the Apple App store are reviewed by an employee in the company’s App Review division. While this makes it more difficult to push an app to the App Store, it also helps ensure that users and businesses can trust the apps they download.

Windows operates with a similar level of discretion—apps in the Microsoft app store are also manually reviewed. However, since Windows tablets mostly run Windows 10, the tablets share many of the security vulnerabilities of Windows PCs.

Android is an open-source mobile OS, meaning it is free to download and free to alter. While this has advantages in terms of encouraging innovation and competitive pricing, it does come with risks to security. Nokia’s threat intelligence report found that Android devices were nearly 50 times more likely to be infected by malware than Apple devices.

Tablet support

Apple is known for tight restrictions on both its hardware, in terms of manufacturing and repairs, and software, in terms of a closed operating system and highly regulated app store. These restrictions have their benefits in terms of security, stability, and support for Apple devices.

 AppleCare for Enterprise provides 24/7 technical support, on-site service, and repair/replacement for up to 5% of your devices. Apple also claims that they can repair or replace your devices within one business day. 

Android and Windows tablet manufacturers have similar enterprise support programs, such as Samsung’s business portal and Microsoft’s enterprise services

Software: Build, Buy or Partner

When it comes to your customer and/or employee-facing kiosk application — that is, the screens the user interacts with on the kiosk — there are three main options: Organizations can “build” their own customer kiosk app, “buy” it from a software provider, or can work with select software vendors that have partnered with the kiosk provider. 

In each of these cases, it’s important to make sure that there are developer resources available that can integrate added functionality with the application you choose. 

For example, our Interactive Kiosk offers integrated image-based scanning capabilities as part of our enclosures. With our image-based scanning, customers can easily check prices, get product information, check-in to doctor’s appointments, and check themselves out at retail and grocery stores.

This post is exerpted from our Self-Service Kiosk Playbook. Click below to read the full guide:

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