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Customers expect brands to step into the digital era, whether they search for a retailer’s eCommerce website or check for online scheduling for their next hair appointment. Even within a store, more audiences want businesses to go digital.
They want free Wi-Fi, text notifications, and touchscreen kiosks right at their fingertips.  Some businesses embrace online technology, while others are still trying to catch up. If you’re trying to step into the digital era and lure customers with the latest technological trends, then a touchscreen kiosk might be right for your brand.

Here is how you can use touchscreen kiosks to bring your brick-and-mortar business into the digital realm.

What Are Touchscreen Kiosks?

Touchscreen kiosks are interactive displays that engage your customers and offer customer service, product purchasing, or information sharing. They come in the form of stand-alone columns, digital signage, or devices like iPads that have specific software related to your brand. 
Touchscreen kiosks are found in a variety of industries and business sizes. More airports are switching to touchscreen kiosks for the check-in process. Travelers provide information about their flight plans and luggage, and then receive a boarding pass. 

Customers still interact with airline employees when they drop off their bags, but the process moves faster because of the digital technology. 

On a small scale, many doctors and dentists have adopted touchscreen kiosks for patient check-in. Some offices ask patients to type their names, while others can recognize patients through fingerprint scanning technology. If the patient needs to update their insurance, the office staff receive a notification when the patient checks in so they can provide the right paperwork. 

Touchscreen kiosks essentially provide ways for customers to communicate with your brand or place orders when they come in. The process is faster, more efficient, and more accurate for your staff, which means your customers will have more positive experiences when they are at your location.

Why Do Customers Like Touchscreen Kiosks?

Some customers will always prefer talking to employees, and human customer service representatives will always be essential for answering questions, but the majority of your customers will likely embrace your touchscreen kiosks and prefer them to waiting in line to speak with a representative. 

The Washington Post recently explored why this technology is so popular for both customers and business owners: 

  • Speed - Customers typically spend 60 seconds interacting with touchscreen kiosks, a number that can drop to 20 seconds for repeat users and customer loyalty program members.

  • Visual Cues - Customers don’t have to read or speak to order. They often move through the system by clicking on a variety of images. This is why the process is faster and mentally easier for everyone involved.

  • Upsells - Brands can convince customers to add items to their carts before they check out. For example, seeing a cookie or a shiny car on screen can motivate customers to add a dessert or car wash to their carts.

  • Flexibility - Customers can customize their options in ways they might not feel comfortable when ordering verbally. They can also discover new options they were previously unfamiliar with.

  • Accuracy - There is no mishearing with online ordering. Customers can review their orders to make sure everything is accurate.

The quick-service restaurant industry offers easy examples for all of these benefits, but they can be applied to almost any business or field. Banks can move clients through a queue and understand what they need faster, while auto repair teams can upsell customers on oil changes when they drop off their cars for servicing.

How Can Businesses Benefit from Touchscreen Technology?

Brands can also benefit from this form of technology for many of the same reasons customers do. More accurate orders mean fewer products are wasted and fewer unhappy customers who don’t get what they want. This benefits companies financially by reducing lost product and increasing the percent of customers who are likely to return. 
Furthermore, product upsells can increase the average ticket per customer. If you can increase your average ticket by just a few dollars, you can increase your sales dramatically within a few months. 

Employees are also likely to benefit from touchscreen technology. Their orders will be clear and neatly organized, so they can prioritize their work and find all of the information they need within a few seconds.

In the case of auto shops or doctors offices, where customers are using touchscreen kiosks to check in, staff can focus on more pressing work, making office operations smoother and more organized.

How should your business use interactive kiosks?

Kiosks can have an endless array of purposes, ranging from calculating the calories in your lunch to learning the details of a medical procedure, but the common thread among them all is that they offer a unique , internet-powered experience designed to educate, inform, and entertain users. Here are 15 ways we’ve seen customers get the most from their kiosks.

  • Queue Management – Got a line in your store? Steer users toward the kiosk to enter their name and reason for visit and manage a back-end system that lets employees see who’s here, what they need, and when they arrived– and track that info with simple database reports.

  • Quizzes & Tests – We know how popular quizzes are across social media (a la “Which Disney Princess Are You?”), and the format translates well to the kiosks for a fun and enlightening experience.

  • Contest Entries – Want that big prize? Have users enter names and email addresses to be registered to win, and you’ll make out like a bandit with their information.

  • Educational Games – What if Angry Birds was a game about launching white blood cells into disease-causing pathogens to teach kids (of all ages) about how antibodies work inside our bodies? Make learning fun and you’ve got an interactive high-score holder.

  • On-Demand Printing – Tired of printing and re-printing brochures and marketing collateral every time there’s a tiny change? Skip that hassle and allow users to print on-demand from up-to-date documents on a wifi-enabled printer and you’re saving time and money.

  • Online Applications – Whether it’s for college acceptance or a home loan, letting users fill out applications via kiosk can save them time and help them more easily understand the process.

  • Interactive Timeline – When a museum wants to show the history of World War II, an interactive multimedia experience that combines images and video with data will create far more memorable lessons.

  • Maps & Wayfinding – Hotels, hospitals, convention centers, college campuses… they’re all so huge! A quick way to help people get from A to Z is a digital map that allows users to see where they are and print or email themselves directions to their destination.

  • Store Locator – If you have lots of retail locations, your customers will often be interested to know where the closest one is. Share that real-time info with them and use the kiosk to check inventory or availability so they know the store will have what they want.

  • Employee Directory – I’m here for a meeting with John Smith— but at a corporate HQ with hundreds of employees. Simplify my life! Users will love the ability to swipe, sort, or search to find their contact and even ping the employee’s phone to announce their arrival.

  • Promotional Videos – Many kiosks are focused toward reducing the perceived wait time in high-traffic areas, and it’s nice to offer a few brand-centric advertisement videos to educate and entertain customers as they wait. Works great for product demos, too!

  • Appointment Scheduling – Many kiosk users will be in a hurry, so it’s beneficial to offer them a way to schedule an appointment with a specific person who can help them at a later date.

  • Retail Purchases – Whether you’re in line at a busy quick-serve restaurant or inside a big box retailer where you can’t find an employee and checkout lines are long, offering users the ability to buy a product online with a kiosk can really simplify their retail experience.

  • Financial Calculators – The more tools you can provide to help your users, the better. While most people will have a basic calculator on their phone, chances are they don’t have access to a handy rate calculator for a mortgage or car loan.

  • Event Registration – When your guests arrive, speed up their check-in process with self-service kiosks. You’ll get them through quicker, collect their data instantly, and leave them with options like printing a badge or map of the event space.

Touchscreen Case Study: Panera Bread

One great example of touchscreen kiosks having significant impacts on businesses is the rollout of Panera’s in-store digital ordering.

Panera executive Ron Shaich said a few years ago that wait-times at an average franchise location were eight minutes long, customers had to wait in a “mosh pit” of people waiting to order, and orders were wrong about 10% of the time. Today, a quarter of all Panera orders come from online sources  -- through the app or through in-store kiosks -- and customers wait an average of one minute before they step up to the counter.

Interestingly, this modern technology isn’t necessarily a job stealer. The ease of flow of customers means Panera employees can serve more people in a shorter time and need to hire more food prep employees. They also have people working to maintain the kiosks and keeping the ordering area clean and moving.

Finally, Panera rolled out delivery options in 2017 and plans to hire 10,000 delivery drivers this year on top of the 4,000 it has now. 

Business is booming because the touchscreen kiosks and digital ordering solved the biggest problems customers faced with the company.

Learn How Touchscreen Kiosks Can Help Your Business

Investments in touchscreen technology are not difficult or expensive to set up when you work with a partner who can make the implementation process fast and easy.  If you’re considering adding touchscreen hardware to your business, talk to an experienced provider who can get your screens up-and-running and making money right away.