All posts by Staff Writer

Custom Development for Kiosks

Do you need custom development for your kiosk project?

As you begin you kiosk project, you may wonder if you need custom development.  Here are a few questions that will help you determine how “custom” your project is, and what level of custom development might be needed.

You will first want to identify the purpose and function of your kiosk.  If your kiosk is intended to provide users with access to an existing website or application, your project likely may not need custom development!  You will want to use kiosk system software in order to lock down your device, but you can configure that software out of the box to secure a website or application. Out of the box kiosk software can provide high levels of customization or can be deployed with only minimal changes – it is completely up to you.

If your kiosk will require interaction with an input device (you want users to submit payment, for example), you can still make this happen without custom development.  Either identify the external device options you would like to incorporate (make, model, specifications etc), and match that up with the kiosk system software which supports one of the devices on your list.  If you can’t find your device on the supported device list, you will want to reach out to the kiosk system software company to see if the device can be added. KioWare, for instance, adds devices primarily based on customer request and many devices are already supported via existing APIs.   Still, no custom development work is required.  If your timing is tight, and you need your device integration escalated,  payment may be required, depending on the organization with which you are working.

Tips for when you might need custom development for your kiosk project

So when do you need custom development for your kiosk?  You might (definitely) need custom development when you . . .  customdevelopment

If you are using an existing website or application but want the information to populate or integrate with a non existent or unrelated database, you might need custom development.  

If you want  fancy attract screens or custom start pages, toolbars, or keyboards, but do not have the development or design resources to create them, you might need custom development.

If your project exists only in your head, and you do not have an existing website or application, you might need custom development.

If you are integrating complex hardware in a manner that has previously not been seen, you might need custom development.

Example custom development kiosk project

Still not sure what a custom developed kiosk project might look like? Here’s one developed by the KioWare Custom Dev team:   Water World Self Service Locker Payment Kiosk

Requesting a quote for a custom kiosk development project

Ready to get started, but not sure what information you should pull together before calling for quotes?  Here is a link to (PDF) questionnaire to assist you with any calls you might make to get an accurate and consistent custom development quote.




Becoming EMV Ready: Shortcuts for the Certification Process

If you are still in the early stages of converting your hardware and systems to an EMV compliant solution, you will want to consider the following shortcuts and hints to a painless EMV solution.

For those that have relatively new hardware. . . Find out if your existing hardware will be updated or supplemented to provide chip reading capabilities.  Depending on the age of your hardware, you may find that vendors are offering updates to allow your device to read “chip” technology.  If your hardware vendor will not be providing hardware updates, you will need to select a hardware option that is chip ready.  Chip ready hardware can be purchased via companies like UCP (Unattended Card Payments).

Use your existing application or website.  While you may find that this is an opportune time for an update, you may find time savings by using your existing application with a few modifications to hardware and payment processing.  There is no need to reinvent something that works effectively and is not in need of an update. There are simple hardware and software solutions that do not require a complete system redesign.

Upgrade your hardware (if necessary) & use pre-configured payment communication options.  Certainly, your hardware needs to not only be chip ready,  but it must also accommodate secure data transfer via software and payment gateway.  By selecting hardware and software that can become compliant with the flip of the proverbial switch, you can upgrade your system without the need to make complex changes later, to finalize the update.  It may be a challenge to identify companies that are prepared to go live with EMV via the flip of the proverbial switch. Finding those that are already integrated can be an enormous time saving from implementation to certification.  Payment gateway Credit Call offers ChipDNA, which allows hardware to communicate financial information to Credit Call via KioWare kiosk software using the ChipDNA API.  KioWare’s configuration (available in Version 7.3.0 and higher) offers a simple drop down with no programming required.

Take advantage of EMV pre-certified solutions.  EMV compliance is not just the act of making a system secure, but also obtaining the official certification that verifies that your system is secure.   the entire system Credit Call ChipDNA/KioWare system is EMV certified without requiring the paperwork and processing time that other solutions may require.

Other systems may also come with EMV pre-certification.   Additional information can be found here:

Six Tips for becoming EMV Compliant

What Can US Retailers Learn from UK about Chip & Pin

KioWare’s ChipDNA Solution


Device Hopping

“Device Hopping” is a technical shopping term referencing online shopper behavior. A New York Times article titled “Retailers Try to Adapt to Device-Hopping Shoppers” (December 2012) refers to the “device hopping” process as researching and shopping on one device and  purchasing on another.

A Barilliance study from June of this year found that 41% of Smartphone Shoppers started their shopping session on a different device than the one they ultimately purchased from.  Add in tablet users and almost 1 of every 3 shoppers  completed their purchase on a different device than that it was initiated on.

What does this mean for retailers, service providers and self service companies?  What can be done to increase conversions and move those shoppers more quickly from a smart phone environment to a tablet or PC where the product is more easily viewed and the purchase process more easily navigated?

1.  Invest in improving website checkout navigation and purchase processes.  Studies, testing, and redesign improvements need to be made to retailer websites to improve the shopping experience and increase conversions.

Baymard Institute reports are a great place to start with this research.

2.  Improve the website’s mobile experience. If the mobile experience can be improved, perhaps fewer users will “device hop” – completing their purchase without hopping to a new device.

3.  Increase the availability of preferred devices. If users prefer to purchase from a PC or tablet, make those devices available for customers in  locations where they might be useful.  This could be in-store, or in relevant peripheral locations where customers can be targeted.  Areas of congregation such as train stations, waiting rooms, lobbies, and more are other opportunities to convert users from mobile shoppers to device hopping purchasers. Since the website is already created, set up kiosks using kiosk software (like KioWare) and configure to allow users to swipe credit cards (rather than manually enter) in order to speed up the checkout process.

To benefit from device hopping, a bit of innovation and imagination is required.   What other types of device hopping are there?  What other methods are available to increase conversions from those that device hop?





Samsung Tablets In Schools

Tablets in Education

Great video about Samsung’s tablets in schools and how Samsung helps to bring innovation into learning.   This video highlights the Brüder Grimm Schule usage of tablets in the classroom.

While the video highlights some of the great teacher training, student interaction, and classroom usage, it does not mention the need for privacy or security to ensure appropriate usage by students.


More Tablet information

Customer Flow Illustrates Retail Kiosk Opportunities

 Retail Kiosk Opportunities & Customer Flow

Visitors to retail stores, museums, hospitals, and banks all have an “experience” and “path” that influences how and what they see during their visit.  They have a traffic flow, a decision making process, and path that can be identified, quantified, and displayed.  The experience is not only “in person” but is often initiated at home (via a website interaction), on the bus or in the car (via a mobile application interaction), or out on the street (via a digital signage interaction).

Mapping these experiences visually often displays the many opportunities for consumer touch points to occur.  Above is an image displaying the Exploratorium Visitor Experience Map shown in a MozCon presentation earlier this month.   Specifically mapping visitor flow within a retail store can also provide valuable information for kiosk placement.   While stores often use this information to improve product placement and traffic flow, they can also add informational and purchasing kiosks to stores (using traffic flow research) to optimize staff, improve communication, and increase customer satisfaction.

Properly placed kiosks can increase sales while improving the customer’s experience.  In order to accomplish this, kiosk applications need to be as user friendly as the store, and they need to be accessible, using kiosk software to make sure that the kiosk is locked down to the appropriate functions.  Nothing is more frustrating than an out of order kiosk or a kiosk application that does not serve the customer needs.  Of course, if a customer can’t find – or isn’t aware of – the kiosk,  it’s the same experience for them as no kiosk at all.

At the end of the day, understanding customer behavior and the paths they take to get to a purchase or experience can be imperative to reaching them with product placement, checkout flow, and informational and transactional kiosks.   Use your customer flow research to better inform your electronic interactions with customers, for better results and a more satisfying retail experience.

Read more about Retail Design and Customer Flow:

Retail Store Design Blog

How Kiosks Impact Wait Time

Retail Traffic Flow, Art or Science?






Optimizing Retail Solutions


The mobile retail experience

In the current mobile marketplace, desktop sites, apps, in store signage, and mobile sites combine to create a consumer experience that may or may not be consistent across all mediums.  In April’s STORES Magazine,  Peter Johnson writes about how MandM e-retailer identifies this issue and works to resolve it.  Graham Benson, IT Director at MandM Direct, says

What you need now more than ever is a soft of ubiquitous consumer experience across all channels. It’s very difficult to achieve the same user experience with the same functionality if you’re running an app, a separate mobile site and a separate PC site.

True.  What better way to incorporate these mobile communications into your brick and mortar experience, than to present consumers with those same applications and mobile experiences via an in store kiosk?  Download a mobile app (via Google Play for Android devices, or iTunes for Apple), and lock it down with kiosk software. No extra cost (barring the minimal costs of the device and the enclosure/stand) and no additional programming.  Another solution, build a site that is optimized for all devices and incorporates responsive design.  Then broadcast that site to mobile, tablet, desktop and kiosk devices.  In short, do it once and make it count for as many mediums as possible.

Retail solutions

Also in the April edition of STORES is an article by Karen M. Kroll about mid sized retailers and their ability to view inventory across channels including e-commerce, brick and mortar, catalog and mobile sales.  Making this full inventory available to store visitors is one way to optimize the use of this solution.  Visitors should have access to kiosks that display the store’s website and online inventory.  In this particular case, the technology that enables live inventory tracking is a Celerant solution.

Leveraging solutions with kiosks

What solutions and consultants are being used to streamline the retail process?  No matter what solution is identified, it often only takes one extra step to allow kiosks  to leverage the solution in yet another direction, making inventory management pay in yet another way.   Ultimately, consultants looking for ways to leverage their solutions as far as possible may find kiosks are a simple solution with strong ROI and scalability.

RFID Technology in Retail

Retailing Report Details RFID as High Potential for Retailers

In the 17th annual Global Powers of Retailing report, produced by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited in conjunction with STORES Media, RFID technology is mentioned as an existing technology that has vast potential to improve the retail experience.  deloitteretailing According to the report, “We have long since expected RFID to replace price tags and shipping labels with a single permanent and invisible identifier.”  Unit cost is the primary reason for the lack of adoption but the potential cost savings and added value should outweigh that initial output.

Some benefits (from the report):

  • An RFID can act as a permanent security tag for the product. 

  • It can also be a web address for any product information; a virtual label, assembly instructions, reviews, repair, replacement, recycling, etc.

  • RFID can enable an automated transaction without the cost of checkout

While the benefits of RFID (according to the DTTL report), also include cost savings and improved tracking as well as inventory leveraging, the added capabilities of RFID reach far beyond what RFID can add to the customer experience.

RFID Kiosks?

When looking at the benefits to customers, RFID can allow for quick website lookup and automated transactions without the need for a staffed checkout option.  Kiosk software can be used to integrate and incorporate RFID technologies with customer facing self-service kiosks, allowing customers to use RFID technology to look up products on a website, purchase items, and locate product add-ons/parts.   The potential for RFID (and the RFID kiosk) is extensive and kiosks will certainly assist in maximizing the ROI on that initial investment.