Interactive Kiosks and the Future of Retail: Part Three

Last week we wrote about “omnichannel” marketing, its effect on retail and in what ways interactive kiosks play a part in these types of consumer-focused programs. Today, we’ll look at another aspect of retail — virtual merchandising — and how it will affect the way consumers make purchasing decisions in-store.

Ever heard of a virtual mannequin? Touch-on-glass and interactive touch foils? Or virtual kiosks? While even a few years ago, these would have been considered futuristic technologies, all of these examples (and a host of others that are similarly impressive) currently exist at market.
Let’s start with virtual mannequins. There are a few different types of deployments available, and they are used for a range of different purposes. For instance, Jaeger, a popular London clothing store, tested the mannequins in concert with an app that customers could use to find out what the window mannequins were wearing, including shoes and accessories, and even purchase the items online, right from their phone. Virtual Mannequin technology is also used in concert with digital kiosks to deliver promotional and informational messages to audiences ranging from convention-goers to shop-a-holics interested in the latest trends and the most compelling bargains.
Next up — “touch-on-glass.” This is a way to create what’s essentially an interactive touchscreen out of something as simple as a plate glass window or glass partition. It also works with acrylic materials for higher-traffic areas requiring less fragile solutions. These types of makeshift “kiosks” generally require the integration of interactive touch foils in order to achieve the desired levels of interactivity between the window displays/interactive signage and end users.
Finally, we come to virtual kiosks. This term is a bit of a misnomer — the kiosks themselves aren’t actually virtual. The component that’s virtualized is actually the human aspect; virtual kiosks allow customers to interact with virtual sales associates directly from the sales floor. This means that stores are able to supply customers with on-demand product assistance and suggestions, as well as complete POS transactions, all from the same kiosk. Banks also use a similar type of process to assist customers in lieu of traditional, in-house tellers.
If you find these quickly-evolving technologies as fascinating as we do, come back next week for our final installment covering the future of interactive kiosks in retail. Already convinced that digital kiosk integration is right for your business? RedyRef’s experienced professionals are here to help. With a wide range of manufacturing solutions available in house, we offer a one-stop solution for kiosks from design to deployment, making it easy for companies of all sizes to take advantage of the latest advances in retail technologies. Give us a call at (800) 628-3603 ext 525 or submit a request for proposal online and our team will be with you every step of the way.

Why Investing in Digital Visitor Management is the Right Choice: Part Two

This digital world of ours is changing quickly, and that more often than not means figuring out how to adapt to these “new rules” just as fast so as to not fall behind.  RedyRef’s team of industrial and computer engineers has spent countless hours immersed in figuring out what’s next for interactive kiosks, and one of the most important concepts on the horizon — and one that’s being adopted quickly — is digital visitor management. Last week, we discussed why these types of programs work well on several levels, but the most significant aspects we covered are how they work to improve the first impression given by a business or other organization while increasing the security of a building or campus. Today, we’ll talk a little more about exactly how digital visitor management systems achieve these things by taking a closer look at RedyRef’s in-house solution, the enGage platform.

enGAGE visitor management software is typically installed on a self-service kiosk at reception, and registration can be initiated by either an employee or by the visitor, depending on the type of installation that is chosen. This software automates the entire registration process and can handle anything from a simple “sign-in” to more complex processes such as printing badges with scannable barcodes or notifying employees via email or SMS when a guest has arrived.

enGAGE secure visitor management software is not just effective, but also easy and quick to use, enabling visitors to get what they need and be on their way to their appointment. For most transactions, it takes less than 30 seconds for guests or contractors to register with their information, print and receive their badge or send a text to whoever they are meeting.  This is a marked improvement over almost any other analog system. It’s also a massive step forward in terms of security and accuracy.  Visitors can be tracked from the time they register until the time they leave the building or campus, and because the system can be setup to require an ID at sign-in, it is much easier to ensure that those on the premises are who they claim to be.

There are additional considerations that should be weighed before making a decision to move to a digital visitor management system like the one we’ve developed at RedyRef.  Come back next week when we’ll continue this discussion and find out more about the enGAGE platform. Meanwhile, if you’ve already decided that a digital lobby is right for your company, the process does not need to be as difficult or complicated as it may first seem. The key to success is partnering with an experienced, vertically-integrated manufacturer like RedyRef. Contact us today at (800) 628-3603 today or request a quote online and we’ll be with you every step of the way to ensure that your program meets every one of your business’ unique needs and goals.

Interactive Kiosks and the Future of Retail: Part 2

At times it feels as if every other week the retail industry is coining a new term that covers the convergence of brick and mortar stores and digital commerce. Last week, we discussed one example of this, the “Endless Aisle” concept, focusing on a very successful implementation by Home Depot stores. This week, the keyword is “Omnichannel.” Omnichannel retail can mean a variety of things, but in general, it’s used to describe user interactions across multiple channels at once i.e. a customer using their mobile phone in-store to find coupons or an interactive kiosk to ship a special order item to their home. It’s also a way of looking at the interaction of different marketing channels in order to enhance the customer experience and ensure brand messaging consistency.

How has omnichannel retail changed the industry? There was a time when many retailers draw hard lines between their different channels of distribution — store vs. website vs catalog, for instance. But utilizing an omnichannel perspective led companies over the last decade to understand that a allowing for a holistic view of their overall business (omnichannel) can be helpful in working to overcome the invisible barriers keeping different areas of the company from working collaboratively. It turns out that encouraging business units to openly share information fosters an environment of innovation and continuous improvement — something retailers, almost more than any other industry, need to promote in order to stay ahead of heavy competition at market.

Interactive kiosks have been playing a major part in omnichannel retail for years. Staples began adding kiosks to prototype stores almost three years ago that allowed customers to have the Staples.com online shopping experience while inside brick and mortar locations half the size of their normal footprint. Target designed a way to let couples add items to online bridal registries for their guests to print out at kiosks and purchase from in-store more than a decade ago. And Kohl’s allows customers to shop at in-store kiosks and ship their purchases home for free — including items that may be out of stock at their location. It is estimated that 75% of businesses will be digital in the next 5 years; based on market trends, creating a customer-facing in-store digital experience as these retailers have done may be one of the most important investments a business can make.

Already convinced that omnichannel integration via in-store tech is right for your business? RedyRef’s experienced professionals are here to help. With a wide range of fully-integrated manufacturing solutions available, we offer a one-stop solution for interactive kiosks and digital signage from design to deployment, making it easy for companies of all sizes to take advantage of the latest and best technology. Give us a call at (800) 628-3603 ext 525 or submit a request for proposal online and our team will be with you every step of the way.

Interactive Kiosks and the Future of Retail

The Endless Aisle…Omnichannel…Virtual Merchandising…Unified Commerce…10 years ago, these were not common retail terms. Truly, even five years ago you’d have been hard-pressed to find these terms used very often. But about three years ago, they began to make some pretty serious headway into the retail industry and now, while they aren’t something most consumers would recognize, they have at this point become part of the retail vernacular.

Although there are some differences between the terms, all four concepts describe a type of retail strategy that fuses the in-store, brick-and-mortar shopping experience with e-commerce using either personal mobile devices, or in-store kiosks. This in turn creates a seamless customer experience where the concept of “out of stock,” “special order” or “limited inventory” are quickly becoming a thing of the past.

Let’s first take a look at The Endless Aisle, using the example of Home Depot, which has had one of the best and most successful implementations of this type of program. The central issue here was that as big as HD stores are, they still only have a limited amount of space for each department, and appliances in particular take up a massive amount of room, compared to say, duct tape. But appliances are also a high-ticket item, so selling one $2500 refrigerator is a much bigger win than selling $50 worth of nails.

So how does a successful big-box retailer maximize the space they have in order to cram additional models onto the floor? That’s easy; they don’t. At least, not if you’re Home Depot. Instead, they created a virtual appliance store online (called the “Appliance Finder”), directly accessible in-store by customers, via the use of interactive, in-store kiosks. This ability to showcase the 95% of models they can’t physically fit into a store in a beautiful online space ultimately resulted in a 10%+ uptick in sales.

Want to know what’s next for retail? Come back next week to read our blog where we’ll continue to cover this ever-evolving topic. Already convinced that Endless Aisle kiosk integration is right for your business? RedyRef’s experienced professionals are here to help. With a wide range of fully-integrated manufacturing solutions available, we offer a one-stop solution for tablet kiosks from design to deployment, making it easy for companies of all sizes to take advantage of the latest and best interactive kiosk technology. Give us a call at (800) 628-3603 ext 525 or submit a request for proposal online and our team will be with you every step of the way.

What Makes Outdoor Touchscreen Kiosk Deployments Different than Indoor?

Most interactive kiosks are intended for indoor use in settings such as food service, retail, banking or for other similar consumer needs.  This makes it easy for digital outdoor kiosks to get lost in the shuffle, as there is overall less demand and need for these solutions. However, when you need a touch screen kiosk for an outdoor application, there is simply no room for error or compromise, for that matter, because these kiosks are truly in a different league than typical kiosks solutions. An outdoor kiosk has to be built with an enclosure that is able to withstand much harsher environmental conditions than just consumer use and regular wear and tear.  Instead, they need to be able to handle extreme weather conditions, ranging from freezing temperatures and snow, strong winds, direct sunlight, heavy rain and temperatures as high as 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

To add to the complications of deploying an outdoor kiosk solution, because they have to be more rugged than their indoor siblings, many are often lacking in terms of style or usability.  The enclosure becomes less of a focus outside of pure durability and ability to handle the weather and climate around it.  RedyRef recognizes the need for high-end, aesthetically pleasing design no matter where a kiosk is located and this is where our multiple levels of vertical integration truly benefit our customers. With engineers and designers in house, we have been able to dedicate many project hours to creating flexible outdoor kiosk options that offer not just durability, but also excellent design and functionality.  Our two most popular touchscreen kiosks are:

  • The Bazooka is available in both indoor and outdoor versions, and is easily the most modular kiosk we have engineered to date. It is easily customized for almost any component and its capabilities are limited only by the imagination of our clients.
  • The Skyline is also available in both indoor and outdoor versions, and was engineered especially for use cases where larger LCD monitors may be required. It also stands out due to its unique, portrait-style monitor configuration.

While there will always be challenges to planning and deploying an outdoor digital kiosk program, the process can be greatly simplified by partnering with an experienced, vertically-integrated manufacturer like RedyRef. Contact us today at (800) 628-3603 today or request a quote online and we’ll be with you every step of the way to ensure that your kiosk deployment meets every one of your business’ unique needs and requirements.