August 31, 2005, 12:00 AM

Circle K expands Zaplink kiosks program to drive store traffic

Circle K Stores plans to more than double the number of locations offering Internet-based Zaplink kiosks within a year in a move to drive up store traffic, the retailer says.

 

Circle K Stores Inc. plans to more than double the number of locations offering Internet-based Zaplink kiosks within a year in a move to drive up store traffic, the retailer says.

“Today we have 188 locations with Zaplink kiosks, and I’d like to expand that to an extra 200 over the next year,” financial services manager Dan Stiel tells InternetRetailer.com.

The kiosks offer consumers a range of services, including paying utility bills for instant credit, accessing the Internet and downloading coupons for store products. But the biggest driver of traffic is bill-paying, which brings about 200 people into each Zaplink-equipped store weekly, Stiel says. “The killer application is bill-paying, so one of our goals is to expand bill-paying services throughout the country,” he says.

In Arizona, for example, Circle K recently signed on Cox Communications, which now lets subscribers pay cable TV, Internet access and telephone bills through Zaplink kiosks for instant credit, Stiel says.

Circle K hasn’t tried to figure the amount of incremental store sales stemming from the kiosks because there are too many other variables at play, Stiel says. But he’s satisfied that the kiosks result in happier customers who spend more time in Circle K stores, he says, adding that many Zaplink users enter positive comments into a feedback form presented on the kiosk screen.

The Zaplink kiosks, which occupy 9 square feet, are provided by Info Touch Technologies Corp., which hosts the operating software. Circle K and Info Touch share fees on transactions consumers make on the kiosks.

Circle K is a unit of Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., Laval, Quebec.

 

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