It’s no secret that many traditional high-street stores are struggling to keep up with competition from online retailers. In fact, last year saw a record-high rate of stores closing in the US. Nonetheless, it’s not all doom and gloom in the bricks-and-mortar retail sector. While some are going under, others are finding new and innovative ways to adapt and even thrive in today’s market. One of the ways that retailers are managing to stay afloat is by using self-service kiosks.
Getting Up to Speed with the Big Data Revolution
Traditionally, retailers didn’t have much information about their target customers. In the era of pen-and-paper and in-person interactions, customer insights were largely limited to things like interviews and surveys. Nowadays, it’s a very different picture, and that’s because every digital activity generates data. Instead of running blind into the world of marketing and personalized customer experiences, high-street retailers can now leverage digital data to map every stage of the customer journey by using self-service kiosks.
Unlike traditional customer interactions, self-service kiosks can reveal insights that would otherwise remain unknowable. For example, someone might sign in to enter their personal information, thereby allowing stores to instantly capture demographical information that they can use in their marketing campaigns. Furthermore, while using a kiosk to browse through what’s in stock, customers will leave a trail of measurable data that interactions with employees simply can’t. Other useful data might include time spent browsing through product listings and the popularity of specific offers.
Ultimately, in-store kiosks give bricks-and-mortar retailers access to the same sort of actionable data that ecommerce does, thereby allowing them to determine which marketing strategies and messages are most effective and which products are most popular. Finally, customers are often more likely to provide a more honest and reliable owned source of data when using the now familiar environment of a self-service kiosk, as opposed to when they’re asked for information by a sales representative.
Empowering Customers with Personalized Experiences
The modern consumer wants to buy something, rather than have something sold to them. This profound transformation in consumer behavior over recent years is what’s ultimately behind the obsolescence of traditional marketing methods and the greater emphasis on personalized experiences and inbound marketing strategies. Younger customers especially tend to prefer the self-service option, often considering sales representatives to be the dinosaurs of the retail industry. To that end, digital kiosks present something of a bridge between online retail and in-store experiences where people still like to be able to see the products on offer before they buy.
These days, customers are becoming increasingly demanding when it comes to personalized experiences. They don’t want to be talked to en-masse. Instead, they want to be treated like individuals. That’s why retail kiosks can use technology to help guide buyers. For example, Walmart recently implemented a kiosk system that asks users questions to help them choose gifts and make other purchases. The idea is to offer a seamless retail experience that offers unparalleled convenience as well as the added comfort of skipping the checkout queues.
Retail kiosks have proven enormously effective for stores and venues across a wide range of industry sectors. For example, McDonalds now uses its digital menu kiosks all over the world to speed up ordering while also using the opportunity to promote related up-sells. The fashion industry has also seen an influx of technological innovation thanks partly to the adoption of retail kiosks. In one case, Nike introduced 65-inch touch displays into its Berlin store allowing football fans to find, customize, preview and order sportswear ahead of the 2015 Champions League final.
Increasing Profitability through Omnichannel Selling and Marketing
According to Gartner’s Peter Sondergaard, every company is a technology company. However, and contrary to popular belief, that doesn’t mean everyone is going to be happy shopping at home online. What modern consumers want is an omnichannel shopping experience that affords them the freedom to shop using desktop or mobile devices or in-store. That’s how being present across all channels leads to a far more profitable business that’s able not just to maintain its competitive edge, but to thrive in the modern and constantly evolving marketplace.
Retail kiosks ultimately improve profitability in a variety of ways, such as by providing more data-driven insights, enhancing operational efficiency, reducing staffing requirements, increasing upselling opportunities and boosting sales by providing more options for customers. Furthermore, they’re more than just self-service kiosks – they’re digital signs that can display all manner of marketing messages to attract attention. Better yet, given that they’re basically just embedded computers running specialized software, they’re also affordable to implement.
Leading the way in digital transformation, EX Squared provides retailers with interactive digital kiosks that provide immersive experiences for your business. Call us today to find out more.