Category Archives: ROI Return on Investment

Does ROI Matter? Napkins, Excel & the Spruce Goose

Does ROI Matter?

Back in 2007 when Netkey was Netkey (but used to be

Customer ROI
Customer ROI

Lexitech…) Alex Richardson of Selling Machine Partners gave a talk on ROI.

Alex has been around as long as anyone and has gotten to have this conversation with hundreds of clients, each one another variation and difference from the other.

And in today’s world technology has assumed an even more prominent influence in drivers, sometimes a project being done for the sake of technology…

Alex reminds us that it is the consumer needs that matter,

Here is the talk…

Much More to ROI Than Dollars

“The best ROI calculators can be computed on the back of a napkin versus the use of complicated Excel programs.”

That was an opinion espoused by Alex Richardson, founder and executive vice president of business development for Netkey, during his speech, “Does ROI matter?” at The Kiosk Show in Long Beach, Calif., last week.

Richardson continued, “Don’t believe the companies that say they offer 20 to 100 times the return on investment. That means nothing.” He said he much prefers the philosophy of Ken Harris, CIO of retail outlet The Gap, who has said he only needs to see a doubled return on investment on projects within one to two years and wants projects implemented in under 90 days.

Richardson’s point was that the traditional measure of ROI: cost reduction plus revenue increase divided by total cost of ownership, is a good start in calculating ROI, but it’s not the final determinant.

“That traditional view of ROI ignores the quality of technology available, the impact of loyalty, the support of the implementation,” he said.

Richardson told the crowd of some 50 technology buyers that they need to make their kiosk projects a customer showcase, not a technology showcase. He said that technology is a feature of a successful kiosk project, but not the main driver. The main driver is usefulness to customers.

He offered the example of Howard Hughes’ infamous Spruce Goose, which, coincidentally, sits in the harbor in Long Beach. The airplane is stunning in its features, including a cockpit instrument panel, but the craft couldn’t get more than 50 feet above the water in its test run.

Questions that potential kiosk deployers need to ask about a project include: Does the kiosk capture my customers’ preferences? Does it leverage other customer channels, including employees? Does it offer continuous customer feedback? Does it treat employees like customers, too?

He said focus groups are important tools for judging the happiness of customers and employees with a kiosk. Employees’ happiness is a critical consideration, he said, because their attitudes and willingness can make or break a deployment.

Model markets

Richardson cited successful kiosk deployers Borders Books, CompUSA/AOL, Fleet Bank and BMW as examples of companies that look beyond dollar signs in calculating return on investment. He asked the audience to yell out ROI measures for each. In the case of Borders Title Sleuth kiosks, for instance, people offered the following as measurements of success:

  • Decrease in store labor
  • Increased length of time customers spend in store
  • Number of books ordered
  • Sales volume
  • Information capture on the types of books customers like
  • Repeat business
  • “Line busting,” or decreased wait times
  • Increased margins on books that are special orders
  • Ability of employees to flip toggle switch and go to HR applications

Asked by an audience member which industries have good potential for ROI, Richardson cited the gaming, foodservice and automotive industries. “Any time you are automating a repetitive task, like airline check-ins, there is potential,” he said.

Difficult measurements

Richardson said in the speech that it can be hard to pinpoint the different aspects of return on investment.

“The vendor and client have to agree on the elements. Everyone has to be crystal clear on the applications and what they are trying to accomplish. There may be one or two things the client thinks the customer needs. But does the customer realize that he needs it?”


Kiosk London – The UK Exhibition for the Self Service Industry

The UK’s only conference and exhibition completely dedicated to the self-service industry returns to The Barbican Centre on the 15th-16th October 2014. This will be the show’s fourth year and with all of the U.K’s leading solutions providers exhibiting this year, it is promising to be an exciting event.

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Co-located with Digital Signage London, the show acts as the central meeting point for strategic customer service mangers, managing directors, VPs, Marketing and brand managers, kiosk and self-service project managers, purchasers and heads of IT responsible for the implementation self-service solutions and technologies throughout the UK.



KIOSK LONDON EXPO will return to The Barbican in London on the 15th and 16th October 2014. This will mark the shows fourth year and reflects its status as the favoured event for all those responsible for the implementation of self-service solutions and technologes throughout the UK, Europe and beyond.

This year, for the second time, the show will be co-located with DIGITAL SIGNAGE LONDON, providing a unique opportunity to discover the best that the consumer interactivity industry has to offer, from the comfort and convenience of London’s Barbican Centre.

The Show

KIOSK LONDON EXPO 2014 and DIGITAL SIGNAGE LONDON 2014 is the United Kingdom’s combined self-service and digital signage event. With a high number of self-service and digital signage solutions companies exhibiting this year, it is promising to be an insightful and exciting event. The show acts as the central meeting point for strategic customer service managers, managing directors, VPs, marketing and brand managers, purchasers and heads of IT responsible for the implementation of self-service solutions and technologies. “The UK is at the forefront of self-service and digital signage deployment,” commented Jens Schindler, managing director, hf media & events. “KIOSK LONDON EXPO 2014 and DIGITAL SIGNAGE LONDON 2014 will provide an unparalleled platform to showcase the latest advances in customer service solutions from top suppliers and innovators, bringing the industry together and strengthening the UK’s self-service and digital signage market.” Preregistrations include well-known managing directors and decision makers from the UK’s top retail brands, leading high street banks, transportation firms, hospitality companies, fast food retailers and healthcare providers.

Industry Know-how

Visitors will have a unique opportunity to see, experience and discuss the very latest advances in customer service solutions from top suppliers and innovators from Britain and beyond.

There will be a forum programme featuring an extensive series of presentations, all of which are free to attend. These presnetantion will explore a wide variety of issues relating to self-service  and digital signage including some you will probably not have thought about before. The forum has attracted some of the industry’s most influential and authoritative speakers.

The full programme is available online at and www.

Gold Sponsors

The 2014 Gold Sponsors for KIOSK LONDON EXPO are Star Micronics, Protouch, Cammax and Provisio.

“Kiosk London Expo provides Star with an excellent platform to demonstrate its extensive portfolio of industry-leading products, advanced driver and platform support for mPOS applications and pioneering approach to a wide range of high quality end users and system integrators. With an ever increasing number of relevant visitors each year, Kiosk London is clearly going from strength to strength. We look forward to another successful show this year.”, said Annette Tarlton, Marketing Director, Star Micronics EMEA.

10 Reasons to attend

Customer service – customer service is key to repeat sales and customer satisfaction. The event will feature Kiosk and digital signage technology built to improve and satisfy the customer experience.

Influential speakers – this year we have some well known influential speakers keeping you up to date with the best advances in technology and an insight into what customers really want. Along the way, you’ll get to explore a wide variety of issues relating to self-service and digital signage markets.

Topics to be covered include multi-channel retailing and the effect of a digital culture on consumers.

Networking – connect with industry professionals, share knowledge and make new business contacts.

Interactive technology – experience the latest advances in interactive consumer technology for yourself.

Free consultancy – discuss your business plans informally with experienced professionals.

Your technical questions answered – informed technical support is a key reason for attendance.

Future-proofing your technology – gain a better understanding of what is on the technology horizon, and discuss the opportunities they offer your business in the future.

Understanding capex, opex and ROI issues – with the financial imperative now firmly installed at the boardroom level, there has never been a better time to get a better grasp on these accounting issues.

Understanding convergence – technology is evolving rapidly. As a result, previously disparate businesses are now converging on the technical level. This show will help you gain a solid understanding of how these issues affect you and your business.