$15 Minimum Wage in the Age of Self-Service Kiosks — Pt 4

Posted On : Wednesday, September 23, 2015 By : Will Pymm
Last week, we took a more in-depth look at how self-service kiosks are being utilized — often in some lesser known ways — and the benefits that can be gained both for those deploying them and end users alike.

This week, we discuss additional benefits of self-service kiosks, and finish up next week with a discussion of some of the drawbacks; in particular, how the typical pitfalls of deployment can be avoided with smart advance planning. Although most of the media coverage involving self-service kiosks has involved the fast-food industry — likely because of the introduction of the $15 minimum wage in New York and the ensuing controversy it has caused — there is a segment that has been for the most part overlooked as part of the overall discussion, and that’s retail.  And while consumers tend to think of self-service kiosks in terms of what’s most commonly seen in the marketplace — airline check-in stations, digital wayfinding directories or ticket purchasing kiosks for public transportation such as light rail — it’s the use of kiosks in retail that may show the most potential to boost customer satisfaction and increase sales revenue, while decreasing overhead. Why do retail self-service kiosks often result in higher levels of consumer satisfaction?

  • Interactive store directories empower customers. Instead of wasting time walking around a store trying to find a specific product, or attempting to seek out a sales associate for assistance, wayfinding kiosks allow customers to help themselves.
  • Self-service checkouts allow stores to have more lanes available for use, especially during high-volume times, keeping customers moving and happy not to be stuck in line for extended periods.
  • In-store purchasing kiosks allow customers to directly order items that may be sold out and have them shipped to their homes.
  • In-store retail kiosks also offer customers the opportunity to purchase items in a wider variety of sizes, colors or styles that may be less popular overall and therefore not a good fit for the store’s footprint, but are still saleable.  

How do self-service kiosks positively affect the bottom lines of retail organizations?

  • A $15 minimum wage means that many companies will need to consider cutting labor costs.  Using more self-service checkout kiosks, and fewer employees, will allow businesses to keep wait times low and customer satisfaction high while keeping costs down.
  • Kiosks never forget to upsell or cross-sell.  Whether it’s waterproofing spray for new leather shoes, or margarita mix to go with that tequila, sophisticated software can now make the upselling process simple, convenient and most of all, highly relevant to the consumer.  These factors make an upselling or cross-selling conversion much more likely.
  • Easily manage and account for changes in store traffic “on the fly”.  Rather than trying to schedule employees around what they think will happen, managers can instead opt for a consistent employee schedule, utilizing self-service checkout lanes to handle any unexpected increases in customer traffic.
  • Not every business is a large business.  Smaller, specialty retailers can take advantage of the additional floorspace created when even a single traditional checkout counter space is eliminated and replaced with additional product.
  • Wayfinding kiosks reduce the need for floor sales associates when customers are able to get the answers they need on their own, thereby reducing labor costs.
  • The use of in-store, interactive catalog kiosks appear to result in larger purchases; in fact, Staples found that their kiosk customers spent twice as much as typical store customers.
As with most things, even those that are mainly beneficial, there is still usually a flipside that should also be considered.  Next week, we’ll discuss the drawbacks of self-service kiosks, and demonstrate how careful planning can help address the majority of issues that may arise. Want to know how RedyRef can help your business succeed in a competitive marketplace by implementing a self-service digital kiosk program? Simply submit a request for proposal online or call (800) 628-3603 today for more information.