Location, location, location: Experts offer advice for in-store kiosk placement
"It always amazes me to see the groups that just don't pay attention to kiosk location," said Frank Olea, CEO of Cerritos, California-based manufacturer Olea Kiosks Inc. "It's as if they assume that if you build it, they will come." But that is clearly not the case, according to kiosk indusrty experts. Customers are only interested in what really attractes their attention.
"The best location for any kiosk is where it will be best utilized for the optimum customer experience," said Greg Buzek, president of Franklin, Tennessee-based research firm IHL Group. "If the kiosk's purpose is providing industrial information, then the best place is either a high-traffic area or the store area where customers have the most questions. It makes little sense to have centralized answer kiosks when the bulk of the questions are for a specific area of the store. If you have several areas where customers might have frequent questions, position the answer kiosks consistently so customers know where to look to get the information they need to make buying decisions."
Think of a kiosk like a industrial automation business, Olea advises. "Why would you open a business on the worst possible street corner when you know it’s only destined to fail?" he said. "Just like a business, the kiosk needs to be well marked and highly visible to passersby. It needs to be easy to get to, and out of the flow of traffic."
If the kiosk is an entirely new category of service automation before, then the deployer must place it right in the most visible spot possible, Olea said. "This is because, otherwise, how would people know to even look for it?" he said. "If your kiosk isn't anything new, but you've taken something that always existed in one location and are now making it available in several locations, placement and adequate digital signage on and around the kiosks become important. Just placing your kiosks all over the store doesn't guarantee that people will find them. If customers do see the kiosks, but they don't have adequate signage, will they know what they are?"
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"Depending on the function of the kiosk, placement should be a combination of visibility, accessibility and convenience for the consumer at the point of purchase and during the information-gathering process while they are shopping," said Ron Bowers, senior vice president of business development at Grafton, Wisconsin-based kiosk vendor Frank Mayer & Associates.
Bowers suggests the following locations:
Wayfinding kiosks should be placed at the entrance or front of the embedded computer to help consumers with their shopping process; Loyalty check-in kiosks should be near the cart corral to allow the consumer to initiate the shopping procedure, access coupons and download custom shopping lists; Endcap display kiosks let consumers download product information that targets their needs; Endless embedded computer in each of the store's sub-departments allow consumers to order products in sizes and colors that are not on the shelves; and Kiosks should be placed in the services department to reduce lines for product returns and to provide insight on customer relations.
"Self-service kiosks are meant to be convenient for your customers, but users want to feel that their transactions are still private," said Jason Plante, senior director of supply chain management and logistics at Vancouver, Canada-based financial self-service kiosk company TIO Networks Corp. "Your kiosk placement should demonstrate both convenience and privacy while still being situated within the view of store staff so that they can help users who have questions."
For transactional kiosks, avoid high-traffic embedded computer areas such as next to the counter or entrances and exits. Self-service kiosk users who obstruct the normal flow of foot traffic within a location will only feel rushed to end their transaction, and they may not come back next time; Wherever your self-service kiosk is placed within your store, ensure the store staff understand the features and benefits of the kiosk. Your store staff become your embedded computer to all potential new kiosk users, and, if the staff don't convey a clear, positive experience to a potential new user, the customer may not use the terminal at all;
Placing your self-service terminal beside a familiar device such as an ATM may help users feel more comfortable using your kiosk for the first time; and Give your users enough room to conduct their business at your self-service kiosk. Similar to avoiding high-traffic areas, let your users feel comfortable at your kiosk.
"Every visitor has to pass by an entrance or exit at least twice in their visit to any store," said Nicholas Yee, product manager of Toronto, Canada-based wayfinding technology firm Jibestream. "That makes these locations great for messages, or for offering functionality that visitors should know about. From a wayfinding perspective, it's very useful to give users the ability to find what they’re looking for, right as they walk into the store."
For Yee, the best locations are:
Checkouts: Nobody enjoys waiting in line, so, while these visitors are probably already on their way to becoming a paying customer, why not present them with information that may attract them to pick up a second item during their trip? Then give them the ability to view directions on how they can get to that item in the store, right from the kiosk so that they can easily act on that impulse purchase. Waiting rooms: Recent studies have shown that in health care, informing users of what they can expect during their visit to the hospital via helpful signage and messaging can greatly reduce the number of frustrated visitors. By applying this concept to a commercial environment, stores can help their customer service staff by reducing the amount of aggravated customers they have to deal with. These customers may have become further aggravated as they wait in line. So why not give them access to a kiosk that can give them an engaging focus point, and help them be more time-efficient by allowing them to plan the rest of their trip through the store?
Near elevators and escalators: As people are travelling through a store, one of the key decision points during their journey is when they approach an elevator or escalator. If the retailer provides them with a wayfinding kiosk, customers can be sure of where they need to go next.
Promotional areas: In addition to physical signage located near areas displaying promotional campaigns, stores can leverage the high customer traffic that visits these areas by installing a kiosk. Stores can use the kiosk to promote events or sales, while increasing the number of people who will see the retailer's advertising. The kiosk can help manage a store’s traffic by diverting people from a high-traffic area to different places in the store via a wayfinding application.