August 30, 2007, 12:00 AM

Survey offers insights on what to include when planning a kiosk project

Retailers are find more reasons to deploy kiosks to serve customers, and 42% expect to deploy them within the next 18 months, Aberdeen Group says in a new report. 40% of retailers see kiosks as playing a key role in facilitating cross-channel sales.

Retailers have for years been searching for the perfect application of kiosk technology. Today, according to a recent Aberdeen Group Inc. survey, 25% of responding retail companies are using kiosks for various self-service applications, and 42% expect to be adding kiosks within the next 18 months. Industry experts say the majority of kiosks in retail applications today are web-enabled, and with 40% of the companies surveyed seeing a key role of kiosks as facilitating cross-channel sales, attaching the right functionality to the kiosk is critical in driving return from the investment.

The Aberdeen Group survey, “Killer Kiosks: Reinventing the Customer Experience through Self-Service,” examines the details of 260 companies’ kiosk deployments.

What’s in place at those deemed best in class in the report offers insights for retailers still in the planning stage with a kiosk purchase in their future. In the competitive assessment of the companies’ kiosk installations, ratings best in class, average or laggard were determined by whether kiosks reduced labor costs for the companies, lead to improvements in customer satisfaction and improved conversion rates.

Product information

For example, those kiosk projects rated best in class were more likely to offer functionality allowing customers to look up product information at the kiosk: 67% of the top-rated kiosk installations offered this capacity compared with 54% of the kiosk projects rated as average and 32% of those rated as laggards.

Among kiosk deployments rated best in class, 73% offered the ability for remote troubleshooting and maintenance compared with 50% of the average and 32% of the lowest rated kiosk installations.

Some other capabilities defining the most successful kiosk installations included touch screen technology at the user interface, found in 50% of the top-rated kiosk ­installations; an attached printer, found in 36% of the top-rated kiosks deployments, and the ability of kiosk software to detect and send an alert when an operational error occurs, found in 56% of the top projects.

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