Keeping the Brick-and-Mortar Store Relevant—with Kiosks

It was only a few years ago that self-serve kiosks made their first appearances in fast-food restaurants, leaving market gurus around the world wondering how the general public would react. The key questions were: How would the customers respond to ordering a bacon cheeseburger and fries from a kiosk display? Would they be open to navigating the entire dining experience themselves, or dismissive of the concept? Would they even know what they were doing?

Many of the western world’s most prominent financiers held their breath, waiting for a crash. In the end, the crash never came. The kiosks went off without a hitch. Turns out, people liked purchasing their food this way. In fact, sales actually went up.

Kiosks: Disrupting Industries through Innovation

Kiosks, in some manner or form, have been disrupting the status quo of the customer experience for more than a century. In the late 1880s, vending machines offered small products such as postcards or stamps allowed customers to purchase items without the aid of a clerk by placing coins into the kiosk. Then, in the 1940s, self-service models took over at the gas pump. And in the ‘60s, kiosk innovation disrupted the banking sector when the first ATM installations allowed people to withdraw cash from their accounts using a coded card and a few keystrokes at the terminal.

Flash forward to today – kiosk adoption has flourished throughout the years, with many businesses incorporating self-service hubs in order to help their brick-and-mortar stores maintain relevance in a digital world. After all, if shoppers can get everything they want online, what reason do they have to visit the actual store? Simply put, kiosks featuring sophisticated, cutting-edge technology and unique algorithmic features are transforming the modern in-store shopping experience, making it new again with greater personalization and convenience.

Say the shelves are all out of a customer’s size or color preference—they can use the kiosk to quickly locate the item at another location. If a customer has a question but is too shy to ask a sales associate—they can go to the kiosk and have the question answered there. Better yet, with a kiosk, customers can avoud long lines, which is the primary reason why many customers avoid the actual store in the first place.

It may sound odd at first, but with a kiosk, there’s a sense of self-fulfillment, excitement and even fun that, until recently, one typically didn’t experience in a store. For shoppers, the kiosk has quickly manifested into an integral element of the “offline” shopping experience.

Making Your Job Easier

From the business owner’s perspective, kiosks offers benefits that are just as appealing. Kiosks reduce the number of employees needed to operate a brick-and-mortar site, offering the flexibility to schedule personnel when and where they are needed most. With kiosks, you can advertise products that your customers otherwise may not see. Kiosk shopping also allows for the opportunity to upsell with related products, and offer customers the opportunity to join a store loyalty program. Moreover, kiosks provide businesses with intuitive metrics through the tracking of items searched for, viewed and/or purchased, allowing for better inventory and supply chain management. And with the power of AI, data is collected and leveraged to make more complex assessments over time, empowering faster service and increased sales.

Reimagining the Customer Experience

The brick-and-mortar store isn’t dying or slipping into the history books, it just needed some disruptive innovation to bring it into the digital age. At Acrelec, we believe in technology that simplifies, to give business the power to put their customers first.

Ready to embrace the power of AI with a customer engagement strategy that makes the most of both the physical space and the latest in digital technology? Learn more about our latest products at https://www.acrelec.com/#products.

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