Industry insights Read time : 3 minutes

Unattended kiosks: Self-service reaches new levels

Unattended kiosks | NMI

Unattended kiosks aren't a new concept, but a variety of factors are driving adoption and changing the way some businesses are conducted. Consider these trends facing retailers and other organizations today:

  • The pandemic has hurt revenue, forcing many to reduce headcount.
  • Even as states and countries recover, many organizations aren't in a cash position to re-hire, forcing fewer people to handle more responsibilities.
  • Safety-conscious consumers are trying to limit human-to-human interaction and avoid unnecessary risk

Luckily, there is another set of trends that have created a unique value proposition for unattended kiosk solutions:

  • Hardware continues to improve while prices drop.
  • Even before the pandemic, customers worldwide have gravitated to self-service when given the option.
  • Kiosk manufacturers and software developers have been busy creating new applications that expand on what we previously thought of as kiosks.

It's this second point we want to discuss here. When unattended kiosks are mentioned, many think of traditional solutions such as gift registries and airport check-in kiosks. Today, many types of kiosks are safe, cost-effective and extremely powerful.

1. Vending kiosks

More and more, we see kiosk applications that are the next generation of vending machines. For example, airport retailer Hudson recently announced it was installing personal protection equipment (PPE) vending machines in some airports. Placing small, in-demand items into a vending machine allows customers to make purchases without spending time in a checkout line or interacting with store staff.

2. Buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) kiosks

BOPIS, or click-and-collect, allows customers to shop anywhere with their phone or computer and then pick up their items at the store. Many retailers still rolling out BOPIS have customers go to a particular counter to pick up their goods. Some forward-thinking retailers are implementing BOPIS kiosk lockers. Without any staff interaction, customers scan their receipt at the storage kiosk to open a locker that contains their items. As a quick side note, studies have shown that customers picking up their goods tend to make additional purchases while at the store. In fact, 85% of shoppers make additional in-store purchases when they go to a store to pick up something they bought online.

3. Food ordering kiosks

Kiosks have also found their way into restaurants. McDonald's made news when it announced self-service kiosks that allow customers to skip lines for ordering and payment. Not only does this minimize human interaction and provide a more sanitary experience, but it's been discovered that such solutions lead to modifiers and upsells, which translates to ticket increases of 30%. Even casual chains are making use of kiosks. While McDonald's kiosks sit at the front of the store, some restaurants have placed self-service kiosks on tables, allowing diners to place orders, request refills and pay without interacting with the wait staff.

4. Transportation kiosks

Kiosks for purchasing bus and rail tickets have been around for a while, but today's latest solutions have reached new levels of capabilities. Parking garages can eliminate paper tickets by allowing customers to tap their credit card upon entry and exit. Similar applications can be found within mass transit, allowing travelers to tap their payment card as they use buses and light rail throughout their commutes. At the end of the day, all transportation charges are consolidated into a single transaction.

5. Charity kiosks

Tap-and-go donation kiosks create a frictionless experience for people who want to make charitable – and socially distanced and sanitary -- donations. During Wallace & Gromit's Grand Appeal for the Bristol Children's Hospital in the UK, unattended contactless donation points around Bristol saw a 309% increase in donations.

These are just a handful of ways unattended kiosks are being used today. Companies like yours have a unique opportunity to combine touchscreens, NFC, barcode readers, IoT sensors, broadband internet, payment technologies and more to create robust kiosk solutions that can further impact our world.

NMI Team