Retail Kiosks Enhance
By Adam Aronson, Founder & CEO, Lilitab
As brick and mortar retail has searched for ways to combat online retailers it has become clear that due to their lower overhead the online will always win on price. So what else is there? Well it turns out that a lot of shoppers have more pressing needs than the getting the absolutely lowest price. Perhaps they need it today, or they need something very specific or perhaps they don’t even know what they need and need help just figuring that out.
This opens up opportunities for retailers to enhance the in-store experience by reducing friction (grab n go), allowing the customer to handle and test various products (comparison shopping) or use expert staff to help guide them towards a product that suits their needs (assisted selling).
So how do retailers enhance their in-store experience?
One of the most obvious ways is to use retail kiosks to automate repetitive/ unskilled tasks such as check-out, grab n go, price lookup etc. This reduces staffing costs and decreases friction for the shopper. Another way is to deploy kiosks to improve the in-store experience by making it easy to find a suitable product (comparison shopping), freeing up staff for other tasks such as assisted selling. By deploying kiosks to free up staff, and implementing tech such as tablets to enable assisted selling, the in-store experience will improve. This helps to differentiate retailers from their online competition, who can only compete on price.
Retail kiosks can serve many purposes; in-aisle display, product finder, self-check-out, endless aisle ordering and assisted selling are just a few. We expect them to continue to automate repetitive and unskilled tasks freeing up staff to become more “high-touch” and engage with the customer to create more rewarding in-store experiences.
With Covid being a concern pathogen transmission is a potential issue. There are ways to combat this with UV disinfecting lights, anti-viral coatings, handsfree operation etc and these options may become more prevalent in a Covid world.
Car-based pickup is becoming very common and kiosks to facilitate such interactions may have a place.
The ability to put a tablet into the hands of an associate is very powerful, more powerful than many traditional retailers understand. The combination of the tablet and the kiosk can enable rich and powerful in-store experiences that offer all the benefits of automation (lower costs and friction) while enhancing the in-store experience (assisted selling) and store operations (mobile checkout).
The 500lb gorilla is the fight between brick and mortar and online retailers. Even with the pandemic dramatically changing shopping patterns it will likely remain the major concern for brick and mortar retailers into the future. Because they cannot compete on price, the only solution is an enhanced shopping experience superior to online shopping. Retailers who do not recognize this and shift strategies will likely perish, the only question is how long will it take?