In today’s competitive retail industry, customer engagement is more important than ever. As shoppers become more tech savvy, their expectations for in-store technology are increasing as a way to enhance their shopping experience. From interactive kiosks to self checkouts, customers are looking for technology that’s engaging and simplifies their shopping trips.
Self checkouts are table stakes, but other interactive kiosks are the new hotness
Touchscreen kiosks are a crucial part of a digital transformation strategy in retail, which usually starts at the last place a customer visits: the checkout. The proliferation of self checkout kiosks has dramatically increased across retail stores of all shapes and sizes in recent years with no signs of slowing down. At this point, customers aren’t simply pleased to see self checkouts — many people expect them.
That’s why it’s time to start thinking about how to expand on this concept with other types of interactive kiosks. For example, you can use digital kiosks to offer product samples like snack foods and beverages. Interactive kiosks can also replace c-store staples like fountain drink machines — think about quick service restaurants that have touchscreen fountain machines that allow customers to customize their drinks. Those are just juiced up kiosks!
Highlight deals, promotions and pricing updates with digital signage
You’ve likely heard the saying, “if a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Well, if you’re running a promotion and no one knows about it, is it even a deal? If you struggle to make customers aware of in-store promotions, pricing updates and other deals, it’s time to get flashy with digital signage.
Digital signage can be as simple as a small, updatable monochrome display that shows recent pricing changes or weekly deals, or as big as a TV that displays an in-store food menu, full-color weekly ads or promotions for your store’s loyalty program. Either way, the goal is the same: to get the customer’s attention and draw it to a specific product or service.
Your employee-manned registers can be anywhere with mPOS
While self checkouts have replaced many full-sized employee-manned checkouts, that doesn’t mean employee checkouts are dead. But when you have limited space and the self checkout kiosks are now occupying the space where more traditional cash registers used to be, how to accommodate the need for additional checkouts during peak times?
The answer is pretty simple: you meet customers where they are by integrating mPOS (mobile point of sale) into your business. These highly portable systems are smartphone-sized and often designed to integrate with your existing point of sale software solution, allowing cashiers to meet customers on the floor, in the parking lot, or anywhere else they are. And when they’re not in use, they can be tossed into a pocket or apron so your employees can get back to managing the floor instantly.
The future of c-store technology is the checkout-less store
The entire point of technology in retail is to improve efficiency for your business, simplify the customer experience and increase foot traffic. If you want the ultimate in all three, look no further than the checkout-less store. This radical design completely eliminates all checkouts, allowing customers to walk in, get what they need and leave.
For a blueprint on how this works in practice, look no further than Amazon Go stores. These physical Amazon convenience stores are fully automated using a sophisticated array of sensors, tags, smart cameras, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Of course, this is a pretty forward-thinking design and likely something that will take years to catch on in this implementation.
That said, there are steps you can take today to improve the flow of customers, starting with your apps. You can start with a simple option like scan-and-go: a concept that uses your business’ app to allow customers to scan barcodes with their smartphone and pay right there in the app for a streamlined grab-and-go experience.
Engaged customers are repeat customers
Modern customers expect modern experiences, and keeping them engaged is the best way to ensure they come back. Strategically deploying the right dedicated devices at the right time is a crucial part of a sound customer retention strategy, but it can also be a daunting one. That’s why you need the right partner to help you pick the right hardware, manage all your devices, orchestrate software deployment to those devices and set you up to easily scale as your business grows.
When your business and growth are on the line, Esper is that partner — just ask Parker’s Kitchen. We helped them deploy over 260 kiosks, POS systems and more in only a few months, consolidating resources and saving OpEx. We can help you define your digital strategy, connect you with our hardware partners and give you all the tools you need to deploy and manage your entire fleet. Whether you have 25 or 25,000 devices (or more), we can help. Schedule a demo today to see how.