July 18, 2003, 12:00 AM

Web-based kiosks are gaining ground in retail locations, analyst reports

Retailers are finding more and more ways to use web-based kiosks, though they often overlook the best way to use and promote them, kiosk analyst Francie Mendelsohn says.

 

Retailers are finding more ways to use web-based kiosks, though they often overlook the best way to use and promote them, kiosk analyst Francie Mendelsohn, president of Summit Research Associates Inc., tells InternetRetailer.com. For example, she says, while some retailers are using web-based kiosks that let in-store shoppers check prices with bar-code scanners--producing ample customer shopping data as well as a better shopping experience--retailers often fail to promote the kiosks with proper signage or other means of marketing them.

"It`s one thing to let customers do price-checking, but the back-end data becomes available to the retailer," she says. She adds that many of the bar-code scanning kiosks are connected to a company intranet, providing retail managers with web-based access to information on which products customers are scanning. "Otherwise, you don`t know what people are looking at," she says.

Meantime, other retailers are deploying web-based photo-finishing kiosks that let users send digital photos over the Internet, Mendelsohn says. She adds that gas-and-convenience store chains are beginning to test systems that let customers order c-store items from kiosks placed at gasoline pumps, allowing them to make multiple purchases from the same spot.

 

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