Self-service kiosks have become a common phenomenon today. Right from ATMs to self-service kiosks at theatres and restaurants, check-in and check-out at retail stores, pump gas stations, and airports, self-service is available everywhere, replacing traditional face-to-face customer service. Today, self-service enables a customer service model that is high-tech, fast, convenient, and ‘uber-cool’.
Among the key factors driving the self-service kiosks market worldwide are changing customer preferences and increasing acceptance of self-service. Day-to-day activities such as patient registration in hospitals, movie ticket booking, ordering through fast food chains, flight reservations, bill payment, and checking in or out of hotels are common applications where self-service kiosks have seen greater customer acceptance. These kiosks also gather customer data and secure it at the backend for future references, which are used to customize services as per customer preferences. Thus, self-service kiosks offer many advantages to both customers and service providers in terms of a quicker turnaround, reduced labor costs, reduced operational costs, and improved and personalized services.
One of the fast growing trends in the interactive kiosks market is the increased proliferation of tablets and smartphones used as kiosks. Mobile devices serve as virtual kiosks that run the applications and the kiosk software. Service vendors can make this interaction with customers much more interesting, personalized, and engaging. They can also run personalized ads for greater revenue generation. The biggest advantage of mobile devices used as virtual kiosks is that they enable several customer interactions through a single kiosk hub. Thus, virtual kiosks can replace conventional kiosks and reduce the infrastructure cost drastically, while also making the process more customer-friendly.
Retail and healthcare are the most prominent application areas of kiosks. In retail, kiosks are used for retail vending, gift registry, loyalty, bill payments, and so on. Quick service and fast casual restaurants can use kiosks for taking orders during rush hours. In the healthcare sector, kiosks are primarily used for patient check-in and check-out, registration, virtual reception, physician and patient communication portals, wayfinding, hospital directory, and so on. Other than retail and healthcare, self-service kiosks are increasingly being adopted in banking and financial services, education, government, travel and tourism, entertainment, and hospitality sectors globally.
The kiosk technology is evolving fast. Bigger screens, better interface on Android systems, HD and 3D content, touchscreen, sleek design, declining hardware costs are making kiosks more desirable. New-age kiosks have become the most preferred mode of customer engagement and enhanced customer experience. These kiosks are moving from being payment-based to interaction-based systems.
There are other benefits of self-service kiosks. These include a completely digital transaction and storage, reducing or eliminating the need for paper, leaving less scope for errors, and ensuring faster payments at counters and round-the-clock availability of services.
Kiosk manufacturers need to focus on enhancing the user experience with 3D content and explore innovative ways of engaging users. With rapid advances in technology, kiosk manufacturers need to focus on kiosk designs that look slim, cool, sleek, and stylish and have bigger screens. Such all-in-one kiosks are the key growth area that kiosk manufacturers need to explore in the medium to long term.