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Reducing Consumer Friction for Increased Kiosk Use and ROI

By Lisa Carolan

Kiosk2.jpgAs the relationship between brick-and-mortar stores and their online retailer counterparts become more blurred, the pursuit of lowering consumer friction to onsite shopping and sales fulfillment intensifies. Despite the growth of online shopping a Retail Dive Consumer Survey showed that 62 percent still prefer to shop in-store to have physical access to merchandise.

While interactive kiosks are quickly becoming ubiquitous in brick-and-mortar locations, many retailers are challenged by how to increase their use by customers and see the needed ROI. Many are discovering the many ways that they can reduce consumer friction and gain that ROI through innovative kiosk software development that enhances the consumer’s preferred omnichannel experience.

For interactive kiosks to reduce friction points requires supplying customers with the right knowledge in the right format at the right time so that they can confidently make the right purchase decision. By understanding your customers’ pain points and eliminating friction, the kiosk must a positive experience that matters along each stage of the buying process. 

Finding the Friction Points

The fact is that both online and retail shopping experiences for consumers have their own friction points that must be dealt with. While online offers convenience and speed it lacks a way to feel and touch merchandise before the sale as well as more complicated product purchase resolution. Brick-and-mortar fulfills the consumer need to touch and try out purchases as well as faster purchase gratification and issue resolution but can suffer from inventory options and sales support.

By creating a high-touch, physical and seamless omnichannel experiences with retail kiosks at the center, it’s possible to link digital and physical storefronts as well as inventory, sales fulfillment ordering and shipping. But there are additional ways in which kiosks can personalize the shopping experience for individual consumers across channels and platforms. By integrating online, mobile, and brick-and-mortar shops, through back end integration points, retailers can ensure data-sharing between channels, so customers can research and shop across multiple platforms.

Kiosks must be part of a holistic network approach to deliver a transparent and rich experience that seamlessly facilitates the buying process. Interactive kiosk software must connect and drive all customer-facing channels and touch points, including the POS, website, customer service centers, and CRM software, in addition to the kiosk.

Putting Kiosks at the Center of a Holistic Omnichannel Experience

Interactive kiosk software should seamlessly connect to the website, in-store WiFi, mobile apps, RFID, loyalty card tags and customer databases solutions to ensure consistency and make them a natural extension of the shopping experience. By leveraging information from e-commerce, POS, Business Intelligence and CRM, retailers can deliver highly-personalized in-store kiosks that fully engage customers by providing the perfect blend of in-store tangibility and online convenience.

For example, kiosks can create frictionless synergy between online and brick-and-mortar by starting a sale or special online and making it changeable and updatable based on inventory in the retail location. By creating an online treasure hunt atmosphere, customers are incentivized to visit the stores more often and use the kiosks to reveal bargains and opportunities that they can only access in the brick-and-mortar locations. That kind of shopping experience is difficult to replicate online.

Kiosks can also enhance personalized loyalty programs through instantly customized promotions according to demographics, browsing patterns and purchase history. Offering bonus loyalty points for feedback on products, service and the kiosk itself generates incentive for customers to use the kiosk, promotes the loyalty program and supplies the retailer with additional, valuable data that would otherwise be nearly impossible to gather.

Technology always requires innovative approaches that are implemented over time to remove the friction that exists to its use, and interactive kiosks are no different. This requires a deep understanding of your customers’ needs and preferences for interaction and sales fulfillment, which are constantly evolving.

Consequently, retailers must take an elastic approach to creating a holistic and transparent experience across every channel that seamlessly ties front end and back end systems to the kiosk. The goal is to make the interactive Kiosk a unique, incentivized opportunity for consumers that is uniquely reinforced by all other channels so that it becomes a natural extension of the shopper’s seamless experience.

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