New product, ilumi® LED Smartbulbs, enlightens the IoT market at retail.
Grafton, WI, April 7, 2017 – ilumi® solutions, one of the fastest growing Internet of Things (IoT) companies, is introducing their LED Smartbulb technology with counter displays in electronics stores in both the U.S and Canada.
Within the rapidly expanding smart home product category at retail, this new brand showcases their newest smartbulb product while highlighting itself as a Shark Tank-funded company. The retail displays demonstrate their Bluetooth app controlled smart light bulbs within a concise counter-top footprint. Within the plex shroud the bulb transitions through different lighting hues and brightness effects as if controlled via the ilumi smartphone app.
Frank Mayer and Associates, Inc. (www.frankmayer.com) is an industry leader in the creative design and manufacturing of branded in-store merchandising displays, interactive kiosks and store fixtures for leading consumer product companies and retailers. Frank Mayer and Associates, Inc.’s headquarters are based in Grafton, Wisconsin with offices nationwide.
Contact: Cheryl Lesniak Integrated Marketing Manager Frank Mayer and Associates, Inc. P: 262-377-4700 Cheryl.firstname.lastname@example.org www.frankmayer.com
When a merchant wants to accept payments through their unattended kiosk, they are faced with many processing choices and industry complexities. Whether forming multiple direct integrations to processors or utilizing one-to-many processing solutions provided by middleware or gateways, kiosk operators and merchants have a lot to consider.
A payment integration to a gateway or processor can require a great deal of time and resources. Kiosk operators also need to assess ongoing remote maintenance and how to support multiple integrations. In addition, there are various industry, regulatory and compliance requirements (like EMV and PCI DSS) to follow, as well as value-added security features such as end-to-end encryption or tokenization for recurring payments to consider. The payment process and user interface must attract and retain the customer through the entire payment process. As most kiosk users are untrained, transaction abandonment is common with a slow or cumbersome user interface.
This whitepaper will evaluate the benefits and costs of integrating payments via a gateway versus via direct processor connections, plus explore the other potential value points a gateway partner can provide kiosk operators and merchants.
Gateways and Payment Processors Defined
With the payment landscape growing more complex every year, merchants are seeking more sophisticated technologies to help them accept diverse forms of payment and integrate payment data with their other systems, such as inventory management, accounting and more. Kiosk operators need systems designed for ease of use, speed and security, and payment gateways and payment processors are two of the most widely used solutions for payment acceptance.
A gateway is essentially a secure cloud-based platform that connects credit card payments from merchant points of sale (POS) to their processors, thereby facilitating the authorization and settlement of payment transactions. Why have a gateway in the middle of this important relationship? The short answer is for security and flexibility, but the details and other benefits will be expanded below.
A payment processor is a company (often a third party) appointed by a merchant to handle transactions from various channels, such as credit cards and debit cards for merchant acquiring banks. They are usually two types: front-end and back-end processors. Front-end processors have connections to various card associations and supply authorization and settlement services to merchants. Back-end processors accept settlements from front-end processors and move money from issuing bank to the merchant bank.
Pros and Cons of Leveraging a Gateway
Gateways provide several benefits to kiosk operators that are integrating payments into their offerings:
A single connection to a gateway leverages that gateway’s multiple connections to many processors, enabling kiosk operators to have more freedom to choose their processor partners and accommodate a broader customer base with very different payment needs. Connecting once to access multiple payment processors is much more cost-effective and efficient than creating multiple direct processor connections.
Access to the gateway provider’s reseller base, which gives kiosk operators connections to potential channel partners and greatly increases growth opportunities.
PCI DSS compliance of each processor connection, securely routing card data from the POS system to the processor of choice—again all delivered via the single connection to the gateway.
Access to PCI scope-reduction tools, like end-to-end encryption, EMV and tokenization, which limit the kiosk operator’s exposure to handling sensitive card data and potential fraud.
Lower upkeep and maintenance costs due to the fact that the gateway provider handles the bi-annual card brand releases and enhancements required by card brands and processors.
The price of leveraging these gateway benefits is typically a gateway transaction fee—an expense in addition to the interchange fees charged by processors. While the gateway fee is typically nominal, the expense can add up over time as transaction volumes grow.
Pros and Cons of Direct Connections
The main benefit of direct connections is that they eliminate incremental transaction fees typically associated with gateways, because direct processor connections cut out the “middle man” with a select processor.
However, there are additional costs in both funds and time accompanying direct processor connections:
Merchant have fewer choices for payment processors—typically only the one processor is directly connected.
Kiosk operators are personally responsible for PCI compliance, which is an ongoing and labor-intensive process. Even when using a PCI DSS-compliant level one service provider, the kiosk operator will still need to adhere to any applicable PSI DSS obligations set forth by their acquirer, based on processing environment, volume of transactions and policies/procedures.
It takes a substantial amount of work (and, therefore, cost) to certify and maintain each individual connection, comply with PCI data security standards, and perform necessary updates for card brand and processor bi-annual releases. This can result in a very expensive, time-consuming and resource-intensive effort for kiosk operators who wish to handle payments processing development themselves.
Integrating with direct connections and certifying EMV transactions for every chosen processor requires several steps, each of which can each take weeks or months to complete:
Submitting and getting approval from the payment processors for an EMV Application Request
Assigning a Certification Analyst and acquiring Magnetic Stripe Reader (MSR) Certification
Completing pre-certification EMV Testing
Completing subsequent EMV certification with individual card brands (These certifications are device- and processor-specific, and separate for Visa, MasterCard, Discover and AMEX)
Repeating this process for each connection is extremely costly to initiate and maintain. Kiosk operators must certify each desired hardware to each desired processor, and any alterations to the payment application requires a new EMV certificate.
EMV for Kiosk Operators
With the implementation of EMV cards in the U.S., kiosk merchants are seeing improved security for consumers and decreased fraud for merchants. With these benefits, come a few challenges, the first of which is that kiosks are usually unattended devices. Since the kiosks are not using a basic POS terminal, an original equipment manufacturer approved for unattended use is needed for Level 1 EMV compliance. Level 1 EMV compliance relates to the hardware housing the terminal, which must have a higher degree of security to prevent people from accessing the keys to the data. The next stage of EMV compliance (Level 2) refers to the software. Transactions happen between the POS device and bank exclusively, removing liability from the kiosk operator.
EMV compliance can be complicated and costly, but it marks a significant shift in liability in the U.S. Using a secure payment gateway can help to streamline this process for kiosk operators and remove the burden of securing EMV certifications for each payment type.
Other Benefits of Gateways for Kiosk Operators
While direct integration can be time-consuming and expensive, integrating with a gateway provides kiosk operators with several key benefits that reduce ongoing operational costs, labor and maintenance.
More Options and Flexibility
Gateways typically enable the ability to connect to more processors than direct connections so merchants have the freedom to choose the partners that work best for their business. The more connections and channel partners that your gateway provider offers, the more flexible payment options that are available for kiosk merchants. With customer analytics growing quickly, kiosk merchants can provide a customized experience for their users, including user recognition through card number, email address and more.
Be sure to select a gateway provider that has a reputation for top-notch safety and security. Features to look for include advanced security features like end-to-end encryption, tokenization and hosted payment screens, in addition to EMV compliance for a comprehensive layered security approach.
Gateway technology can be tailored for a variety of niche markets like vending, parking, car washes, golf courses, and ticketing, plus a wide array of traditional payments terminals, so look for a provider that meets your specific vertical market needs.
Semi-Integrated Solutions to Save Time and Effort
Semi-integrated solutions allow kiosk operators to add EMV support quickly and easily using their existing payment solutions, saving significant time, effort and resources. EMV reduces the liability for kiosk merchants, shifting more liability to the cardholder’s bank, significantly reducing risk to the kiosk merchant.
Increased Growth Potential
Gateway providers sometimes have a large reseller base. For those that do, granting kiosk operators access to the gateway’s reseller base gives those kiosk operators connections to potential channel partners, greatly increasing growth opportunities.
Speed & Service
Gateways should provide a consistent level of service to enhance the payment process for the customer. Speed of a transaction is especially important during heavy use. A slow system can drive customers away during the payment process and reduce the sales volume. Kiosks must be able to function well at a high volume without the system slowing or shutting down.
Dynamic Routing for Fast and Easy Payment Device Management
Gateways should feature dynamic routing across platforms and services, meaning devices are boarded once and can send transactions anywhere. This consolidates payments and data from different platforms into one simple, easy-to-use interface, and translates across reporting, risk management and billing for all devices, which dramatically reduces the work required to maintain these connections. As kiosk users are generally untrained, a fast, reliable experience is required to maintain current users and gain new users. Sales are often abandoned due to system delays or an interface that is not user friendly. Look for a gateway provider that allows acquired portfolios of devices to easily be added, and supports functions like recurring billing.
Some gateways can convey preferred rates for small-ticket Visa and MasterCard transactions, further validating the ROI of connecting to a gateway, especially for kiosk markets with lower average sales tickets.
Flexibility to Support New Technology
Gateway providers continually add support for new payments technologies as they emerge, which helps future-proof solutions and keep them compliant with updated PCI regulations. Ensuring the kiosk merchants can utilize the latest mobile options, such as Apple Pay, Wallet and more with a future-proof solution.
Which Integration Path is Right for You?
Establishing and maintaining individual connections with processors may seem more empowering and cost-effective at first glance, but it can be quite costly and resource-intensive over the long term. Many payments solution providers are turning to gateways to provide their merchants (and customers) with more options. However, each kiosk provider or merchant must weigh the pros and cons, and choose an integration path that works best for their business.
We will be showcasing KioCall Video Conferencing at Telehealth 2.0 in Orlando, Florida fromApril 23rd to the 25th at the Orange County Convention Center in Booth 1319. If you are interested in visiting the showcase or meeting with our team, we have tickets available for your use. Please email email@example.com for tickets to the show or to request a KioCall demo.
The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) invites you to Orlando, Florida, for its annual conference. The ATA 2017 International Conference & Tradeshow is the world’s premiere event in the telehealth industry that brings together professionals to share their expertise and knowledge with their peers. The conference provides an invaluable education experience and an opportunity to attend over 100 sessions that highlight the hottest topics in the telemedicine industry. Take advantage of the multitude of networking opportunities with telehealth professionals from across the industry. Program information.
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As a valued customer and friend we want to invite you to come see us at our booth at ATA 2017: Telehealth 2.0 / The Transformation Advantage – April 23-25, 2017at the Orlando Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. In fact, we want to provide you with free Exposition only admission to attend!
Exhibit hours are: Sunday, April 23rd, 12:30pm-5:30pm Monday, April 24th, 9:30am-6:30pm Tuesday, April 25th, 10:00am-1:00 pm
The ATA 2017: Telehealth 2.0 | The Transformation Advantage has been bringing together healthcare executives involved in telemedicine for over 20 years. ATA’s Corporate Members and Exhibitors are recognized as industry leaders in the fields of telemedicine, telehealth and mHealth. Come and connect with the decision makers of the healthcare industry at ATA 2017 in Orlando! BUT DON’T DELAY! Register today and take advantage of this offer. This offer is only valid by using the link above.
MALVERN, Pa.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–USA Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:USAT) (“USAT”), a payment technology provider of cashless and mobile transactions in self-serve retail, today announced that Sneaker Syndicate, a high-end athletic shoe boutique in Orlando, Florida, has launched a series of self-serve amusement kiosks that allow consumers to win sneakers, which leverage USAT’s ePort Connect® cashless payment systems.
According to AnythingResearch, the amusement arcades market is approaching being a $2 billion industry, and cashless payments represent a huge growth opportunity for the still largely cash-based market. With what we believe to be a low barrier to entry, this is an industry ripe with opportunity. Sneaker Syndicate has deployed USAT’s cashless payment technology on an amusement “Crane Game” as part of a marketing strategy for its retail location. For five dollars, shoppers could test their luck at winning high-end footwear such as Adidas Yeezy Boosts or Nike Air Jordans – sneakers that range in value between $300 and $2,000.
One month after installing USAT’s state-of-the-art ePort Connect cashless payment systems onto a small number of the store’s amusement machines, sales nearly doubled, with cashless transactions accounting for about 45 percent of the machines’ intake. Given the positive results, the company now plans to expand its business over the next two years with additional machines at a variety of East Coast locations.
“Because of USA Technologies, we are developing franchise agreements with companies across the East Coast for our popular high-end shoe amusement machines,” said Stewart Bryant, owner, Sneaker Syndicate. “The ability to easily accept payments using the ePort platform has made a critical difference for us. This technology has opened the door to a new world of amusement and vending games.”
Implementing ePort Connect on its kiosks has given Sneaker Syndicate the ability to track the acceptance of cash, credit/debit cards, NFC and mobile wallet payments such as Apple, Android and Samsung Pay. The connected nature of the devices also gives the growing company critical remote access to sales and payout data for all of its machine locations.
“The opportunity for the unattended retail market is greater than ever. In the amusement and gaming industry, going cashless not only enables more payment options, and increased revenue potential, but also allows for the sale of game credits. Additionally, the MORE loyalty program facilitates repeated sales of games,” says Maeve Duska, senior vice president of Sales and Marketing, USA Technologies. “More and more consumers are also going cashless simply recognizing that the convenience of paying with their mobile wallet is as simple as tap and go.”
KINGMAN – Who doesn’t want to save time and avoid standing in line?
Fifty-one percent of all transactions done at the MVD can be completed at the self-service kiosk or the department’s online portal, ServiceArizona.com, said Douglas Nick, spokesman for the MVD.
Customers can take their vehicle registration notice and scan the bar code into the kiosk, then pay with either a credit or debit card, Nick said.
Getting a duplicate driver license or ID, change of address and specialty plates are all functions the kiosk can perform without the help of a customer service representative, according to the release.
Kiosk transactions increased across Arizona from 21,991 in February last year to 36,899 the same month this year, the release states.
Designing displays for dealer networks in the flooring, paint, and home improvement industries can be challenging. Here are five things you should consider, from David Anzia, Senior Vice President – Sales, Frank Mayer and Associates, Inc.
PROVISIO is a market-leading software development company providing turnkey secure kiosk, digital signage and remote management software solutions. PROVISIO products are sold in more than 50 countries through offices in the U.S. and Europe. Fortune 500 companies, including Verizon Wireless, Hilton Hotels, BMW, T-Mobile and Citibank, have chosen the company’s easy-to-use and scalable software solutions for deployments of 1,000+ machines. PROVISIO has the largest installed base of kiosk software products worldwide.
Meridian Kiosks, the leading pioneer in self-service solutions, announces a new, innovative EV charging solution. “It’s something that Meridian has wanted to develop for quite a few years now, so we’re excited to finally introduce this addition to our product line,” said Chris Gilder, Meridian CEO. Meridian will showcase their new product at DSE in Las Vegas on March 29th and March 30th. Meridian’s team will be exhibiting in Booth S25 in the Self-Service Pavilion.
On Wednesday, Meridian announced fuseEV, an interactive or non-interactive, self-service charging station for electric cars. Meridian combined its expertise in interactive digital signage with the company’s passion for eco-friendly solutions to create fuseEV. “The desire to provide this product stemmed from us looking to use EV vehicles as a company. While doing research we noticed the lack of infrastructure available for EV cars,” said Gilder. Electric vehicles are becoming more affordable and the miles per charge is increasing substantially. These new advances are creating a rise in electric cars on the road that will encourage production of electric vehicle charging stations, as the success of electric cars will be dependent on the availability of EV charging stations.
DSE is right around the corner. Here’s a glimpse of what’s happening in the self-service arena.
By Richard Slawsky contributor
Although next week’s Digital Signage Expo doesn’t include kiosks in its name, self-service devices will play a prominent role in the show.
DSE, produced by Exponation LLC, is co-located with the Digital Content Show, and will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center March 28-31, with access to the Exhibit Hall March 29-30. The show is the world’s largest and oldest conference and trade show dedicated to showcasing digital display and interactive technology solutions. More than 200 exhibitors will be featuring technology and services ranging from the latest in displays, media players, software and networking devices to delivery methods, content and more. In addition, more than 75 conferences, seminars and roundtable discussions will held over the show’s four-day run.
Many of those exhibits and discussions will showcase self-service kiosks and associated technology.
“Kiosk technology fits perfectly with the direction of DSE,” said DSE show director Andrea Varrone. “We are seeing more and more adoption of self-service technology across all vertical markets, and in most cases this is the same buyer for digital signage technology.”
And along with some of the top names in the digital signage industry, many members of the Kiosk Industry Group will be in attendance as well. Here’s just a sampling of what will be on display.
Olea to showcase drive-thru kiosks
Olea Kiosks will be presenting publicly for the first time its new Detroit drive-thru kiosk, geared for the fast-food market.
“More than 70 percent of revenue for most QSRs comes from the drive-thru window, and with our Detroit, operators can expect even greater results,” said CEO Frank Olea.
“Our kiosk gets the customer’s order right every time, never is rude to a customer and always remembers to ask for the up-sell,” Olea said. “Some deployers of our previous drive-thru kiosk saw it drive a 15-percent revenue increase. What’s more, the Detroit has been engineered to be 30 percent more energy efficient while costing less than the unit it replaces.”
The company will also be showcasing its ticketing kiosk, Olea said.
“We’re very proud of this unit,” Olea said. “The art deco aesthetic and reliable all-weather functionality have made it a hit at one of California’s most popular amusement parks, for example. We believe there is a strong future for ticketing kiosks, and this unit represents the leadership we’ve been able to bring to the segment.”
And finally, Olea will be demonstrating its Milan kiosks. Available with four different monitor sizes, each able to be mounted portrait or landscape, they excel at virtual reception, wayfinding, product information and more.
“The Elo touchscreens we integrate allow users to operate two applications at once,” Olea said. “For example, one part of the screen can show features of, say, a new lawn mower, while another part of the screen can show the user where to find it.”
Olea Kiosks will be headquartered at Booth 350 during the show. For a video of the company capabilities click here.
Meridian eyes the EV charging market
“Meridian is excited to be unveiling InterAct 2.0, our interactive digital signage solution,” said Stephanie Mewherter, marketing manager with the Aberdeen, N.C.-based manufacturer of kiosks, digital signage and related software. “InterAct 2.0 boasts a sleek, refined UI with integrated real-time weather information and additional levels of customization that were not available in version 1.0.”
The company will also be showing the most recent addition to its product lineup, EV Charging Stations. In conjunction with an expected increase in EV sales, the global EV Charger market is forecast to grow from more than 1 million units in 2014 to more than 12.7 million units in 2020, according to a new EV Charging Infrastructure report by IHS Inc. That promises to open an entirely new placement opportunity for kiosks and digital signage.
Meridian’s EV Charging Station includes a 240V, 32-Amp Level 2 EVSE with a 25-foot charging cable and a sleek, interactive or non-interactive touch screen. The company will be located at Booth S25 on the show floor.
Alveni to show some appetizing solutions
Austin, Texas-based kiosk solutions provider Alveni is showing its new ergonomic digital signage/kiosk, code named “Yuum,” a versatile product that can accommodate touchscreens ranging from 32” to 55” in either landscape or portrait mode. Options for Yuum include a credit card/chip reader, pin pad, 80mm printer and a barcode reader.
The kiosks are ideal for wayfinding, human resources applications, surveys, ticket or coupon printing and much more, according to Alveni’s website.
Alveni will be located at Booth S20 during the show.
St. Petersburg, Fla.-based URway Holdings is a group of dynamic companies−OneSource Interactive, EuroTouch Kiosks, URway Kiosks & PicsWare−specializing in unique interactive self-service kiosks, interactive and passive digital displays, digital directory and wayfinding displays, mobile and tablet solutions, managed digital services and strategic consulting.
EuroTouch Kiosks offers some of the world’s most contemporary and highest-quality kiosks and dynamic signage products in the industry, including a comprehensive series of indoor and outdoor kiosk and dynamic signage products for the most design-conscious clients and from the most elegant environments to the most demanding environments.
URway Holdings will be showcasing its products at Booth S12
It’s in the cards for Evolis
French company Evolis plans to show its range of four new card personalization modules at DSE, catering to the growing need for unattended card issuance for use in markets including banking, retail, education and transit. Of those, its KC200 and KC200B models will fit the most compact kiosks, while the KM500B and KM2000B models will meet the need for higher autonomy and continuous availability.
The modules offer cost-effective solutions to enable instant issuance of personalized plastic cards into any type of self-service kiosks. Plastic cards are used around the globe for ID badges, payment cards, transit passes, access badges, loyalty cards, student ID cards, national ID cards and more.
Visit Evolis at Booth S19, or click here for an advanced glimpse of their products.
OptConnect makes the connection
One of the major trends that has occurred in kiosks and digital signage over the past few years is that those devices have become thinner and smaller. The shrinking of those devices has created an increasing need for a tiny cellular router.
Kaysville, Utah-based OptConnect addresses this need with OptConnect neo, an ultra compact yet fully capable router that easily fits in the palm of your hand. About the size of a pack of gum, the plug-and-play neo eliminates the need for kiosk manufacturers to engineer and certify their own cellular hardware or to develop software drivers to keep USB modems working. In addition, neo’s self-monitoring logic automatically restores the cellular connection if it is interrupted, ensuring devices remain online.
OptConnect will be demonstrating its products at Booth S13 on the show floor.
In case that’s not enough
And if these exhibitors weren’t enough to keep attendees busy, making its second appearance at DSE is the Self-Service Pavilion, which debuted in 2016 as an acknowledgement to the rising adoption of self-service kiosks, tablets and other freestanding interactive displays and the convergence of kiosk and digital signage technology.
The Kiosk Industry Group was a driving force in getting the SSP established, and it would not have been possible without the support and direction of industry leaders such as Olea Kiosks and others.
One of the original “designers” of the pavilion is Craig Keefner who manages the Kiosk Industry Group. Craig worked with Andrea Varrone of DSE on configuration and pricing. “Self-service, transactional and interactive are the complementary technology partners for digital signs. It was a chance to expand the show audience while creating a new ‘Kiosk Show’ within it,” said Craig. “Our hope is that in the future we can help support a Kiosk Council for DSE that comprises the experts in the industry. We have meetings at DSE to discuss that very effort”.
“The Self Service Pavilion was implemented after the show organizers realized how quickly self-service kiosks, tablets and other freestanding interactive displays were being adopted by the digital signage market,” said Meridian’s Mewherter. “The Self-Service Pavilion is a “one-stop-shop” to see all of the latest and greatest self-service solutions on the market today.”
Self Service Technology was an obvious product category to include in the DSE universe, said DSE’s Varrone.
“We created a small version of this for 2016, and expanded it for 2017 which now includes around 25 exhibitors,” Varrone said. “We are expanding the Self-Service Pavilion in 2018 even further. I see this as a huge growth area for our typical attendees (End Users in verticals like QSR and Retail).”
Along with the continuing addition of self-service technology to the show, Varrone expects DSE to continue expanding going forward, offering more and more growth and innovation.
“We are seeing many more attendees from verticals that were not as strong in previous years such as Higher Education, Corporate Communication and Transportation,” Varrone said. “We are also seeing new players coming into the market as providers of technology, such as traditional sign giants now making the transition to digital.”
Click here for a list of DSE exhibitors and here for a map of the show floor.
SSG MSA, Inc. removes the barriers to Kiosk Implementation
March 16, 2017
SSG MSA, Inc., also known as the Self Service Group, provides partners with all that is needed to successfully introduce and support self-service solutions for their customers. This includes a comprehensive consultative process based on years of experience in the industry, ensuring that their clients receive fully functional and supported kiosk hardware and software, customized to their needs, with manageable payment options along with specialized support services.
The company’s suite of services includes personalized equipment financing, complete on-site installation and a comprehensive service and maintenance agreement. The Self Service Group was started by three industry veterans, Jim Brinton, CEO of Avanti Markets, Peter te Lintel Hekkert and Michael Masone, President and Vice President of Sales, respectively, at SlabbKiosks. Together, they have over 30 years of experience, having worked on thousands of kiosk projects for various industries; all of which included the design, manufacture and delivery of over 10,000 customized kiosk units, worldwide.
Having run a kiosk business for several years, it became obvious to us that there was a niche in the market that wasn’t being fulfilled,” commented Peter te Lintel Hekkert, one of the investors in the business and President of the well-known kiosk manufacturing company, SlabbKiosks. “Investment in the purchase of equipment might not be the best option for many companies, either due to their business model or because the kiosk solution they require is only needed for a specific period of time. SSG MSA, Inc. was created to provide a financially manageable all-in-one service, from hardware and software design and deployment to financing and maintenance of same.”
Businesses interested in learning more about the company’s services can visit www.selfservicegroup.com. The company provides comprehensive consultation with a fast and easy application process. Clients can choose from an extensive line of kiosk models or get customized solutions at an affordable, all-inclusive, monthly cost.
About SSG MSA, Inc.
SSG MSA, Inc. also know as the Self Service Group provides financing for kiosk hardware and software, including standard or customized solutions. The company also offers on-site installation as well as comprehensive service and maintenance agreements.
The kiosk industry is growing, but the road to self-service success is littered with the remnants of those projects that didn’t quite make the grade.
By Richard Slawsky contributor
Good news for the health of the kiosk industry continues to roll in. A research report issued in early March by Transparency Market Research projects the global kiosk market will expand at a combined annual growth rate of 10.9 percent over the next seven years, topping $30.8 billion by 2024.
A report issued just a few days later Stratistics MRC is even rosier, predicting that the market will reach $88.34 billion by 2022. Another report, from IndustryARC, predicts that growing competition at the retail level will boost demand significantly.
Despite those predictions, though, not every self-service kiosk deployment is going to be a success. Some operators seem to be determined to wrest failure from the jaws of success, either through a lack of clarity on what function the kiosk is supposed to perform or not viewing the deployment from the standpoint of the end user.
So to help those considering an investment in self-service kiosk technology, here are a few suggestions about what NOT to do when planning a deployment:
Tip #1 – Don’t forget to include ALL stakeholders. Obtaining input from stakeholders in the project may seem cumbersome in the beginning but is advantageous in the long run, says Janet Webster, president of Washington, D.C-based consulting firm Creative Solutions Consulting. Invite all key groups within the organization to offer their input.
“You will be surprised at just how many areas are affected during kiosk deployments,” Webster said. “It’s better to let the groups know up front instead of having an issue later.”
Getting input from stakeholders might have helped the Mayo Clinic avoid a spectacular fail when the Rochester, Minn.-based health care facility deployed health information kiosks in the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., in 2011.
“You could go and look up information, let’s say on psoriasis or heart disease or whatever, and the kiosk would print out information for you,” said Francie Mendelsohn, president of Washington, D.C.-based kiosk consulting firm Summit Research Associates.
Unfortunately, while the idea was good, the execution was lacking. Instead of offering a one-page summary of various health issues in a reader-friendly format, the kiosks dispensed what amounted to a medical-school textbook entry on whatever disease the user chose.
“Let’s say you wanted something about one of the signs of impending heart problems,” Mendelsohn said. “You got maybe 20 pages in at best eight-point font. It was just unusable from a customer point of view. They had the opportunity to allow people to sign up for their newsletters and to promote the sale of their publications while offering information, but they just went about it all wrong.”
Tip #2 – Don’t skimp on components
Trying to get by with consumer-grade components in a commercial deployment is a recipe for disaster. Using cheap components may save money up front, but it’s likely to cost much more over time in maintenance, lost sales and the eventual replacement of those components.
In addition, multiple breakdowns are likely to foster distrust of the kiosks even when they are operational. If customers approach the kiosk and it’s out of order they may come back a second time, but if the device is out of order the next time, they’re likely never to return.
Jamie Richter, regional sales manager at commercial touchscreen provider Elo, encountered such a situation with a large deployment.
“A kiosk fixture company chose to use consumer-grade flat panel TVs inside a kiosk to save money,” Richter said. “After running 24/7 the panels overheated and started smoking within the kiosk enclosure,” Richter said. “The fixture company had to not only remove all of the panels inside the kiosks, but also replace them with new panels. The cost to retrofit over 500 kiosks already in field was tremendous and a painful lesson about using consumer-grade equipment for commercial applications.”
Tip #3 – Don’t forget to look at the deployment from the eyes of the end user
Although a deployment may look good on paper from the deployer’s point of view, it’s easy to forget that part of the goal of using self-service technology is to create a great user-experience.
Furniture maker IKEA has long used kiosks that allow shoppers to sign up for their loyalty programs, and those devices generally garnered positive reviews. Unfortunately, the company stumbled in their venture into self-checkout kiosks.
While most IKEA stores featured both self-service and cashier-operated checkout lanes, during the deployment the company only opened the cashier lanes on peak shopping days. On other days, no cashiers were available, and shoppers were directed to the self-checkout kiosks.
The scanners quickly became a source of frustration. “A lot of the stuff you buy at IKEA comes in big boxes, so you can’t just pick it up and pass it across the scanner,” Mendelsohn said. “They did have these handheld devices that were tethered to the kiosks, but the tether wasn’t very long, and if you didn’t approach correctly the scanner couldn’t read the code.”
In addition, there were no instructions on how to use the handheld scanners, leaving shoppers guessing about what to do.
“Because this was so frustrating, a lot of people, myself included, just picked up the merchandise or wheeled the cart to another one and eventually checked out,” Mendelsohn said.
Eventually, the negative feedback from customers grew so great that in 2012 the company yanked all of the kiosks from its U.S. stores.
Tip #4 – Don’t overlook the value proposition
Don’t forget to clearly define the purpose of the kiosk, the value of offering a kiosk solution and the operational impact.
Greeting card maker American Greetings was one of the earliest entrants into the self-service kiosk market, deploying thousands of CreataCard greeting card kiosks in thousands of retail locations in the early 1990s.
The kiosk featured a selection of greeting card templates and a pen plotter, allowing users to choose their own design and personalize it with names and sayings. Once the user made his selection, a number of colored pens created the card.
What the company apparently didn’t consider, though, was how a kiosk that could take up to 10 minutes to print a greeting card at a price more expensive than off-the-shelf cards improved the lives of shoppers. Another point of dissatisfaction was the limited number of templates available compared with the number of card styles on the rack.
The final nail in the coffin, though, was the fact that the kiosks didn’t require payment until after the cards were completed.
“They ended up becoming what I would call a kiosk babysitter,” Mendelsohn said.
“They’d have them in stores and people would say, ‘Johnny, go make a card while Mommy shops,” and come back in ten minutes,” she said. “It was quite an interesting thing for a kid to sit there and watch, but at the end of the day, they didn’t buy the card. Of course, the company lost a tremendous amount of money.”
Note: Janet Webster and Francie Mendelsohn are both principals with DigitalBusiness.us which is the premier kiosk and self-service consultancy. Other principals include Peter Snyder, Karla Guarino, Benjamin Wheeler and Craig Keefner.
Here are spme excellent questions provided by Janet Webster with Creative Solutions Consulting.
Questions to consider when planning a kiosk deployment
Why are you offering this self-service solution?
Reduce operational costs?
Improve customer satisfaction/engagement?
Expand access points?
Be more competitive?
Don’t presume you know what the customers want/need; validate your rationale for offering a kiosk. Ask your customers what they want, need, and expect of your business and provide examples of planned kiosk offerings to ensure you’re on the right track (multiple focus groups will help clearly define customer expectations).
What is the advertising/marketing strategy?
How will you let customers and employees know this new kiosk is “coming soon, and “now available?
How will customers provide feedback?
Don’t presume they will use it just because it’s there!
What are the success metrics and how will you collect the data?
Define the baseline and timing for metrics
Revenue vs. Performance? What is the impact of a “down” kiosk?
What if it doesn’t work?
How will you notify the customers and employees?
How will you replace the new kiosk services to ensure customer satisfaction?
Chicago, March 9, 2017 – Cooling Units Ideal for Kiosk and OEM
Kiosk components require specific temperature ranges for reliable, optimal performance. Although any TECA air conditioner can be installed in a kiosk, TECA now offers a complete line of thermoelectric air conditioners designed specifically for kiosk and OEM applications. The product line spans from 155-1,270 BTU/hr and is suitable for indoor or outdoor kiosks. Each cooler has a unique internal-mount design. There is no extrusion into the ambient environment.
These enclosure coolers are ideal solutions for situations where either physical space or aesthetic considerations will not allow protrusion of thermal equipment. For cold environments, heat/cool designs are available.
Customization is available. Thermoelectric cooling is a reliable and maintenance free way to protect electronics and equipment.