Beginning in the wee hours of the morning on November 23, millions of shoppers hit the stores to kick off the 2018 holiday shopping season—spending an estimated $23 billion dollars in the process. Now that the holiday season is officially here, many would say that we’re entering the “most wonderful time of the year”, however, it’s also the busiest time of the year, especially for those who work in or frequently visit retail stores.
Just how busy will retailers be this holiday season? According to a recent Forbes article, Black Friday sales were nearly 10% higher than last year. Similarly, if all remains constant, overall holiday shopping spend is also expected to be greater than last year, with 6% anticipated growth.
While increased sales and store traffic are certainly beneficial for retailers, they also bring about their own unique set of challenges every holiday season. With more traffic and larger amounts of inventory heading out the door, it’s crucial that retailers are able to continue to meet shoppers’ demand, provide excellent customer service, and enable shoppers to locate and purchase what they need in a timely manner. While well-trained employees certainly play a key role in meeting all of these challenges, retail kiosks of all kinds, from endless aisle, to self-checkout, customer loyalty, and smart lockers can help.
Endless Aisle Kiosks
As retailers’ online presence has grown, customers have come to expect instant access to a wide variety of product choices. While retailers have the ability to showcase all of their inventory online, it’s nearly impossible for them to hold all of their inventory in-stock across every store. Endless aisle kiosks offer the best of both worlds—customers can browse a store’s physical inventory while in-store, but also use the kiosk to explore additional colors, styles, sizes, and more through online store access. To make things even easier, if customers find an online item that they want, they are able to select and pay for that item directly from the kiosk—saving both the customer’s and store employee’s time.
While some shoppers prefer the traditional checkout experience, if given the chance, many opt for a more expedited self-checkout option. In fact, according to a 2018 survey, a whopping 66% of shoppers indicated that self-service technology was actually their preference. Similarly to the traditional checkout process, self-checkout kiosks can be designed to accept a variety of different payment options, incorporate any additional necessary components like RFID scanners, and can notify a store employee if a shopper needs help. Best of all, self-checkout kiosks allow shoppers to quickly scan, pay for, and bag their items without having to wait in long lines.
Customer Loyalty Kiosks
While some shoppers prefer to spread their purchases out across a variety of retailers, others opt to frequently return to a handful of specific stores. For those who find themselves visiting the same stores on a regular basis, or even those who only visit once in a while, shopper loyalty cards and programs are often enticing, as they can offer discounts, coupons, and rewards. Providing a designated kiosk on which shoppers can enroll in such programs increases the likelihood for enrollment and also expedites the check-out process, where customers would have previously been given instructions for enrollment by a cashier.
Smart Locker Kiosks
As consumers continue to lead busy lives, their time continues to be one of their most valuable assets. By default, this means that retailers who offer convenient solutions and shopping opportunities are typically viewed by shoppers in a positive light. Smart lockers offer a versatile solution that allows shoppers to place and pay for their order online ahead of time, and then pick it up at their convenience with either a numerical or QR code. While “Buy Online Pick-up In Store” (BOPIS) options are becoming more mainstream across the board, they aren’t all created equal. Most BOPIS options require that customers come into the store, and others even require an employee to retrieve the shopper’s order for them. Smart lockers, on the other hand, are both efficient and can be conveniently located. In fact, if positioned outside the store, smart lockers can even offer the option for shoppers to securely pick up their order before the store opens in the morning or long after they have closed for the night.
Despite increases in online purchases, consumers are still turning to brick and mortar stores to meet their holiday shopping needs—especially those who find ways to incorporate efficient, user-friendly technology into the shopper experience. As retailers’ focus on the overall shopper experience continues to grow in importance, the value of retail kiosks can also be expected to continue to rise.
Nice audio podcast. Main point being online advertising is getting more and more expensive while brick & mortar is getting cheaper and cheaper. Lots of added benefits to B&M too. Examples as well. Recommended
Online Retailers Moving To Physical Stores – Bloomberg podcast was last modified: November 6th, 2018 by Kiosk Industry
Interactive retail kiosks are the largest segment of deployed kiosks. Analysts estimate that retail kiosks comprise at least 30% of the entire self-service kiosk market. Locations include Department Stores, Grocery Stores, Big Box Specialty Retailers and Convenience Stores.
Retail kiosks provide convenient services to customers such as bridal and gift registry, non-stock product ordering, wayfinding directories, employment, product lookup, company information and targeted offers. These services increase consumer awareness and offer new channels for retailers to grow their business.
Once upon a time, it was all about the millennials.
There’s probably a terrible joke in there somewhere, considering the fact this group is often plagued with the reputation of being the “participation trophy” generation.
Kidding aside, for years, millennials have frequently stolen news headlines that highlight the powerful group’s impact on consumerism, the changing workforce, and even the shifting trends on how we communicate with each other.
But in the last few months, several industry newsletters have appeared in my inbox with surprising editorial about the upcoming generation, dubbed Gen Z. Have millennials officially passed the baton to the next up-and-comers who will be the driving force behind retail and marketing trends?
Spoiler alert, Marketers: you’ll want to get your game plan ready for this group. Quickly.
As with all generation groupings, there’s often discrepancy amongst the various sources regarding which birth years make up the classification. Most cite the oldest Gen Z’ers being born in 1996. Regardless, this group of teenagers and early 20-somethings have become a much-talked-about dynamo as people start looking to the post-millennial era.
To understand the impact this latest generation will have on retail and branding, one must first understand the collective mentality ascribed to the group. It should come as no surprise in our digital culture that a defining feature of this generation is being continuously connected, naturally shifting between an online and offline world without friction. And while millennials are instinctively comfortable with technology due to growing up in the Internet era, Gen Z brings the term digital natives to a whole new, mobile-friendly level – the soundtrack to their lives isn’t the click of a mouse, but the tap of a thumb.
Along with boasting a natural ease navigating mobile technology, this latest generation also expects lightning-fast Internet speeds, enjoys easy access to instant information, and are often champions behind social causes.
As consumers, they tend to be pragmatic with their spending. After all, this generation’s formative years were spent witnessing a major financial recession in 2007 and 2008. Furthermore, they’re wary of more traditional marketing initiatives in favor of recommendations and product reviews and prefer to engage with a product versus viewing it behind glass door displays.
To reach this generation of social media connoisseurs, brands will need to meet them on their turf while speaking a language that resonates. According to a white paper titled, “Uniquely Generation Z: What brands should know about today’s youngest consumers” by IBM Institute for Business Value and in association with the National Retail Federation, when asked what they do in their free time, 74 percent of Gen Z respondents listed spending time online.
Naturally, marketers would be wise to engage these individuals using social media and mobile opportunities while utilizing easily-absorbable media and messages like video and push notifications.
This group is also savvy about tuning out ads in fast-paced newsfeeds and media, so companies should aim to pique interest using branded or socially-conscious content that aims to help, inform or entertain. Companies who team up with trusted peer influencers or encourage this generation’s feedback will additionally have a leg up against the brands employing more traditional advertising.
Appealing to the group’s mobile astuteness, companies can provide seamless shopping by offering mobile apps to complement the in-store experience. This self-reliant generation will feel comfortable in a familiar mobile environment, using it to shop, peruse reviews and communicate with customer service.
When it comes to designing store displays and kiosks that will attract this age group’s attention, brands and retailers will want to be mindful of implementing experiential components. As a generation accustomed to self-directed learning (thank you, YouTube), they’ll appreciate accessible products that can be viewed, touched and manipulated.
Self-service kiosks will also be a beacon to this crew to eliminate checkout hassles, long lines and reliance on store employees. This trend toward self-order kiosks, wayfinding stations and check-in units has already started to emerge in restaurants and stores today as the technology is embraced by this next generation.
In sum, with retail already undergoing monumental shifts in operations to stay relevant in a changing market, these same companies will need to keep their fingers on the pulse of this next generation to produce an experience that speaks their language and captures their spending dollars.
It was not the market dynamics that took these companies under, it was the fact that their owners took on so much debt that it positioned them to only be successful if all the market dynamics went their way. They decided to purchase a Formula One race car and forgot they have to dodge potholes on I-94 in Chicago to and from work. And when they fail the world wonders and laments the loss of these retailers and make it sound like this is an overall retail issue. It’s not.
Judging from the usual apocalytic headlines it is pretty easy to assume Retail has been officially terminated by a mobile phone and Amazon. But if you look at the numbers for retail it shows a $5 Trillion market is growing at 5.4% year to year. This is bad news?
Why Did Toys ‘R’ Us Fail? was last modified: March 14th, 2018 by Kiosk Industry
Panasonic Pyramid Computer kiosks complement Panasonic’s existing Point of Sales, rugged tablet and handheld offering
BRACKNELL, UK. 19th FEBRUARY 2018
Panasonic today announced that it will offer Pyramid ComputerGmbH’s leading polytouch® 32 passport interactive touch screen kiosks as part of its range of solutions to address the challenge of the new omni-channel retail era. Pyramid’s fully customised solutions, including comprehensive logistical and service support, will complement Panasonic’s existing range of retail point of sale solutions and rugged tablet and handheld devices.
Pyramid’s polytouch® 32 passport range of interactive kiosk solutions can be used for a variety of application areas such as product presentations, self-checkouts and information terminals. The modularity and flexible design of the devices, with the best in touch technology, makes them an ideal complement for Panasonic’s range of retail POS and Toughpad tablet and handheld devices.
Robert Blowers, General Manager of Engineering and Project Management at Panasonic Computer Product Solutions Europe said: “With customers rapidly changing their buyer behaviour to use multiple shopping channels during purchases, including traditional stores, mobile devices, online and the growing trend in self-service, new technology solutions are required to facilitate this omni-channel retail era. The combination of Toughbook mobile devices and POS solutions, along with the complimentary products from Pyramid enables retailers to deliver customers and staff an effective, easy-to-use and consistent technology experience whether its taking orders on the move, serving at a till or self-serving at a kiosk in store.”
Graeme Derby, UK Country Manager for Pyramid Computer, added: “We share a design and service philosophy with Panasonic that make us ideal business solution partners. We too have designed and engineered our products to provide business customers with the flexibility to exactly match their needs. For example, our solutions can be tailored to include options such as payment systems, label and ticket printers, bar code scanners and fingerprint readers.”
Alongside the retail industry, Panasonic and Pyramid also see business opportunities for their solutions for customers in the hospitality, post / logistics, health and aviation industries with the increasing need for selfservice check-in and check-out systems and ticketing solutions.
Panasonic’s rugged Toughpad tablets and point-of-sale (POS) workstations take multifunctional performance way beyond that of standard consumer devices. Their ability to perform in every environment – in store or dining areas, outdoors and in warehouses – makes them the perfect tool for work in all retail applications.
Critically, they help retailers deliver the omni-channel customer experience that sets successful businesses apart today. Panasonic equips retail managers and staff with reliable and tailored devices with high-visibility displays that are ideal for order taking. The variety of tablet and handheld devices enable retail staff access to real-time information, allowing them to provide customers with in-depth product details and to maximise upsell opportunities at the point of service. The rugged form factors mean the devices are sturdy but lightweight and mobile enough for store operations and warehouse usage. The long battery life and integrated barcode readers and payment systems, along with full Windows OS, mean retailers can manage multiple applications from a single device.
Press contact: Michael Bartley The Amber Group [email protected] +44 (0)118 949 7750 About Panasonic System Communications Company Europe (PSCEU)
Panasonic System Communications Company Europe’s (PSCEU) goal is to improve the working lives of business professionals and help their organisations’ efficiency and performance through world leading technology. We help organisations capture, compute and communicate all sorts of information: image, voice, and textual data. With around 350 staff, engineering design expertise, global project management capability and a large European partner network, PSCEU offers unrivalled capability in its markets.
PSCEU is made up of six product categories:
Broadcast & ProAV offers high quality products and solutions to ensure smooth operation and excellent cost-performance to end-users in the areas of remote camera solutions, switchers, studio camera solutions and ENG P2. The VariCam line-up of professional digital video cameras are capable of true 4K and High Dynamic Range (HDR) which makes them the ideal solution for cinema, television, documentary and live event production.
Communication Solutions offer world leading communication solutions including professional scanners, telephony systems and SIP terminal devices.
Computer Product Solutions help mobile workers improve productivity with its range of Toughbook rugged notebooks, Toughpad business tablets and electronic point of sales (EPOS) systems. As European market leaders, Panasonic Toughbook had a 67% revenue share of sales of rugged and durable notebooks and Panasonic Toughpad held a 56% revenue share of sales of rugged business tablets in 2016 (VDC Research, March 2017).
Industrial Medical Vision provides applications for various segments such as medical, life science, ProAV or industrial. The product portfolio includes complete and OEM micro camera solutions. End-users, system integrators or distributors can choose from a range of full product solutions and component vision technology.
Security Solutions, including video surveillance cameras and recorders, video intercom systems and intruder alarms.
Visual System Solutions, including projectors and professional displays. Panasonic offers the widest range of Visual products, and leads the European high brightness projector market with a 37.20% market revenue share (Futuresource >5klm (FY16 April 2015 – March 2016, excl. 4K & digital cinema).
Panasonic Corporation is a worldwide leader in the development of diverse electronics technologies and solutions for customers in the consumer electronics, housing, automotive, and B2B businesses. Celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2018, the company has expanded globally and now operates 495 subsidiaries and 91 associated companies worldwide, recording consolidated net sales of Euro 61.711 billion for the year ended March 31, 2017.
Committed to pursuing new value through innovation across divisional lines, the company uses its technologies to create a better life and a better world for its customers. To learn more about Panasonic: http://www.panasonic.com/global
Panasonic Pyramid Computer interactive touchscreen kiosks to strengthen omni-channel retail solutions was last modified: March 16th, 2018 by News Editor
This is a brief story of Demetrius Napolitano, a young man who should have been a statistic. He grew up and was passed around 30 different foster homes. Today he is not only surviving but thriving…and adopted into a forever family at age 24. This is part of his story and we enjoyed having him speak at SuperSaturday 2018.
Doing More — A Success Story – A Child That Should Have Been a Statistic was last modified: February 15th, 2018 by News Editor
Nov 12, 2015 – Makers of the R1 +Plus desktop 3D printer, ROBO 3D was apparently looking for an eye-catching way to break the retail barrier, one that would display their product options, introduce consumers to the still-burgeoning technology, and be achievable on a very short timeline. Luckily, they were able to gain
The age of unattended retail has arrived apparently.
New story and report from PYMNTS.com in conjunction with USA Technologies.
According to research inside the Kiosk and Retail Report, a USA Technologies collaboration, the interactive kiosk industry market will be worth $1.073 billion. They note the industry has already experienced some impressive growth, with the U.S. market growing from $533.37 million in 2013 to $716.97 million in 2016.
That increase is due, at least in part, to a 42 percent increase in American imports of interactive kiosks that took place during the same timeframe. Electric vehicle-charging kiosks also powered growth in the space, as those kiosks saw the largest growth of any type from 2013 to 2016, with the number of kiosks in the field growing by 153 percent.
Other key takeaways from the Kiosk and Retail Report, a USA Technologies collaboration, include:
Food and beverage kiosks are the most common kind of kiosks in the U.S., accounting for a combined 35 percent of machines in the field as of 2016.
Clothing retail lags behind when it comes to kiosk deployment. The market shipped only 21,000 machines in 2016, the smallest of any of the 11 markets PYMNTS studied.
More growth in the vehicle-charging kiosk market is coming down the road. The space is projected to grow at a CAGR of 22.29 percent through 2019, the highest of the 11 markets studied.
About the Report
The new Kiosk and Retail Report, a USA Technologies collaboration, is designed to give readers a better understanding of how these emerging technologies are shaping the unattended retail market. It focuses on the ever-evolving world of unattended retail, including those selling items and services consumers never thought they could get without help from a human, and includes market analysis and a look at how new payment technologies are changing the shopping experience.
At this time last year, we sat down with our colleagues to discuss what 2017 had on the horizon for retail and how that would translate to in-store merchandising programs and displays. Their thoughts were captured for our blog post ‘What’s In-Store for 2017.’ Were their predictions spot on? Let’s review…
Prediction #1: Retailers and brands are asking how they can shrink footprints within brick and mortar establishments and still focus on a targeted product mix for the consumer.
Valuable floor space in brick and mortar stores means displays have to adapt to the needs of retailers and possess a smaller footprint.
Red Robin is an example of a brand that implemented this plan while not forfeiting important marketing initiatives. The restaurant group’s branded gift card merchandiser offers gift cards, menus and brochures on an unobtrusive display that requires little restaurant real estate.
Prediction #2: In the New Year, retailers and consumers will be expecting more personalized experiences through today’s technology that will enable a truly personalized offering.
It’s no surprise that personalization is key to enriching a person’s interaction with a brand. After all, customizing an experience can help brands better meet a consumer’s needs. Nike’s Digital Retail Experience is an exceptional example of seamlessly blending the retail experience with a shopper’s desires.
PPG Pittsburgh Paint’s Voice of Color program also brings a level of activation to the buying process with its PPG Color Work Station. Featuring a 42-inch touch screen mounted between paint chip display panels, customers can visit the interactive unit to browse paint choices by color, style and personality as well as find coordinating palette inspiration, view color-tip videos and product information, and paint a virtual room.
Prediction #3: With an increasing number of millennials becoming primary household consumers, self-help retail will likely be expanding, making an effective point-of-purchase program essential for brick and mortar stores in 2017.
Imagine running into the grocery store for a few essentials and skipping the wait in line. Currently, Kroger is testing its ‘Scan, Bag, Go’ shopping experience to address this longstanding consumer pain point. Customers use electronic devices found on kiosks at the front of the store to scan items and bag them before paying electronically and heading home.
Prediction #4: The industrial internet of things will come into its own in 2017 because of the strategic benefits that IoT affords, such as cost efficiencies, convenience and consumer personalization experiences.
The internet of things buzz phrase has gained traction, with HubSpot’s marketing blog devoting an entire post on “why we should care – a lot.”
From smart refrigerators to in-home puppy cams, 2017 has seen people embrace the convenience of being connected at all times. But how does this continue to influence the POP industry?
As brands focus energy on ensuring their products create accessibility for customers, point-of-purchase manufacturers will be trusted to envision ways to highlight those features to intended audiences through in-store merchandising.
“We are the last three feet of marketing,” says Ron Bowers, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Frank Mayer and Associates, Inc. “It’s the point where consumers make the decision to purchase. And because smart home technology is still new and constantly evolving, it’s our responsibility to create awareness and educate customers through displays that showcase product benefits, convenience and more.”
As the internet of things flourishes, the POP industry will remain an essential component to brands looking to inform customers on how their products can make life simpler.
The overall consensus? We think we did pretty well anticipating what 2017 would bring. Did any big trends miss our radar? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
And of course, stay tuned for the ‘What’s in Store for 2018’ post next month!
2017 – What’s in-Store for Retail – Frank Mayer thought session was last modified: December 23rd, 2017 by News Editor
The growth in e-commerce does not mean the death of bricks and mortar retail. While it is certainly true that e-commerce is growing quickly, bricks and mortar sales still account for most total retail revenue.
How bricks and mortar retailers can benefit from shoppers’ e-commerce habits
The growth in e-commerce does not mean the death of bricks and mortar retail. While it is certainly true that e-commerce is growing quickly, bricks and mortar sales still account for most total retail revenue. Data from the U.S. Department of Commerce shows that in-store retail sales were more than 11Xs greater than e-commerce sales ($4,459 billion vs. $389 billion) in 2016.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that bricks and mortar retailers can ignore the impact of e-commerce on the way consumers shop. In-store and online shopping habits have become increasingly intertwined and are particularly impacted by mobile devices and their influence on our lives. Today’s consumers use their phones to research potential purchases, often in micro-moments, such as while standing in line or sitting in a waiting room. However, the ease of research does not necessarily lead to more on-line sales. Retailers report that 82% of customers conduct research online, but more than 90% of all retail sales are made in a physical store.
This is good news for bricks and mortar retailers, if they can create a seamless omnichannel experience for their customers.
We see 3 ways omnichannel experiences can be accomplished
1 – Make sure that your displays are branded.
Recognize that consumers do online research, even while in the store. Shoppers will be trying to find what they see online. If merchandise is shown in a way that duplicates what is seen online items can be easily recognized.
2 – Make sure your displays convey important information.
If your website provides size, product features, or benefits, your displays also need to share that same information. This will give the shopper confidence that the item found in store is the same one that was selected online.
3 – Look to incorporate technology into your bricks and mortar experience.
Interactive kiosks can facilitate multimedia immersive experiences, help shoppers find items in other locations, or improve wayfinding at large retailers. When these in-store kiosks are well designed and match your branding perfectly, they can become a seamless facilitator of an enhanced customer experience.
Bricks and mortar retailing is far from dead. However, it is important that retailers recognize that technology will become an increasingly important part of the in-store experience. Retailers that embrace opportunities to integrate shoppers’ new habits will become the success stories of the future.
Nice graphic showing various technologies (albeit incomplete for retail kiosks).
Technology has certainly seen a big evolution over the last few decades.
In the consumer world, we’ve moved from large desktops and rotary dial phones to razor-thin laptops and smartphones with 10 times the amount of computing power. With each new gadget faster than the one before it, consumers’ expectations for retail interactions have seen a significant shift.
As a result, it should come as no surprise that the technology used in the retail industry has evolved over the past thirty years. In an effort to keep up with consumers’ demands, and with the internet pushing them into the eCommerce era, retailers have been searching and experimenting with ways to satisfy target audiences.
Brick-and-mortar technology. It’s a hot topic for debate and many have questioned whether or not integrating technology into physical stores will help or hinder their existence.
Nike has slowly been testing how augmented reality can help customers. Last year, the company filed a patent application for an augmented reality system that helped people reach their exercising goals.
St. Paul, MN – November 30, 2016 Express Image, a St. Paul, MN based print and digital solutions provider, has deployed six new interactive wayfinding kiosks at Mall of America®, the nation’s largest retail and entertainment destination.
Just in time for the busy holiday season, the recently installed dynamic interactive kiosks are more than just a directory, for the 40 million guests that visit the mall annually, they are a true interactive engagement hub that connects information and communication into an intuitive, efficient and delightful user experience. When a guest approaches the interactive wayfinding kiosks they are greeted with a vibrant, eye-catching tool that allows them to receive the customized assistance they need within as little as 10-20 seconds.
The 2-D wayfinding provides an eagle view with stacked multi-floor destination, travel times and route directions. The directory provides the power to instantly share and visualize the data on your smart phone through the text to phone feature which further engages customers and allows them to interact with mall guest services. “We are driven by a passion to make business and consumer information live, visually interesting and easy to use and understand through our digital solutions.
The dynamic interactive wayfinding solution, custom built for Mall of America turns the spotlight on our sales, creative and technology team” said Jeff Sarenpa, President of Express Image. “It is a true honor to work with the mall and create a customized solution to fit their specific needs from creative design, animation, custom content management system, hardware integration, and software development.”
The slick modern design, search function, step by step directions, dynamic pop-ups, text to phone features right down to the functionality that informs the guest as to which direction to go to start their journey, is sure to impress mall guests during the holiday season and throughout the year.
About Express Image
Express Image is an all-inclusive interactive digital solutions and print provider located in St. Paul, MN. Express Image delivers immersive experiences through digital and print place-based media solutions to worldwide brands through a variety of industries, such as entertainment, retail, travel, financial services, healthcare, technology, education and automotive. Our client service, creative, development, digital and print teams collaborate with our clients from visualization, deployment to delight through our Express Image Proven Process. To learn more visit http://info.expressimage.com/press-release
Certain interactions are a natural fit when it comes to pairing the modern consumer with kiosks and other forms of self-service technology. The case has long been made for kiosks at airports and grocery stores, for example. Another obvious marriage is that between the ATM and the person who suddenly finds herself in need of some cash. In fact, those kiosks are so integrated into our daily lives we no longer even think of them as novel. A world deprived of their contribution would seem primitive.
Kiosks – Great for loyalty and so much more was last modified: October 28th, 2016 by News Editor
The Phone charging kiosk is helping venues head off a growing health hazard. By Richard Slawsky contributor
We’ve all felt it. It’s that feeling of panic deep in our gut when we realize our cell phone batteries are on the verge of dying.
A study by mobile phone maker LG Electronics dubs that feeling “Low Battery Anxiety,” and nine out of 10 people in the United States feel it when the charge on their phone battery drops to 20 percent or lower. Symptoms of the affliction include asking a total stranger to borrow their phone charger, ordering something at a bar or restaurant just to use their power outlet or arguing with a significant other or romantic interest because of unanswered calls or texts.
Fortunately, innovative kiosk manufacturers and deployers have
introduced a cure, rolling out units in airports, retail locations, sports arenas and other venues that allow consumers to charge their mobile phones and obtain quick relief from the dreaded condition.
A growing health hazard
There is little doubt that mobile phones have penetrated nearly every aspect of our lives, and increasingly those phones are of the smart variety. A February report by research firm comScore indicates that nearly 199 million people in the United States own a smartphone, or more than 79 percent of the overall mobile phone market. People are choosing smartphones not just for personal use, but to help them run their businesses.
And the use of tablet computers is growing as well, with research firm eMarketer predicting the number of tablet users around the world will grow to 1.43 billion in 2018, up from 1 billion last year.
With such incredible growth, it’s no surprise that Low Battery Anxiety is becoming a significant health problem, and that kiosk companies are rising up to meet the challenge.
Baltimore-based NV3 Technologies was one of the earliest entrants into the market. The company is now the largest player in the market, with thousands of kiosks across the United States and in three other countries.
“We saw early on that the need to charge your phone was going to become a big problem, and we were right,” said NV3 co-founder Ryan Doak.
Phone charging kiosks operate in a number of different ways. Many feature an assortment of charging cords that fit most popular phone models, while some feature Qi, or wireless charging. That method delivers a charge inductively, with the user simply placing their phone on a pad to receive a charge. Still others rent portable battery packs that users return to a kiosk when they’re through.
And those units are popping up everywhere. In 2014, Olea Kiosks was approached by outdoor advertising firm JCDecaux Airport Inc. to design and manufacture a digital charging station kiosk. The end result was a sleek, eight-foot-tall unit that features four wireless charges, eight 110-volt outlets and six USB ports. The partners have deployed more than 250 kiosks in seven major airports around the county: Miami, Newark, JFK, LAX, Houston, Boston and Orlando.
Chromebook charging another growing opportunity
With many schools faced with the dilemma of needing to provide digital tools to students while at the same time seeing budgets cut to the bone, the Chromebook has emerged as a solution of choice.
Chromebooks are laptop computers running Chrome OS as their operating system. The devices are designed to be used primarily while connected to the Internet, with most applications and data residing in “the cloud.”
Chromebooks are sold mainly by Google and its retail partners, with schools its largest customer category. Google also markets the low-cost devices to first-time computer users and those seeking a second, backup computer.With
Google also markets the low-cost devices to first-time computer users and those seeking a second, backup computer.With Chomebooks becoming increasingly prevalent as a teaching tool, schools are looking for ways to charge a large number of devices at the same time.
That has led to the development of the Chromebook Charging Cart, a mobile unit that can charge as many as 36 Chromebooks, Ultrabooks or Netbooks at the same time while keeping them secure in a locked cabinet. Others are looking at NV3 Technologies hightop table to charge Chomebooks and laptops.
And the need for Chromebook charging solutions is like to remain strong for the foreseeable future. Chromebooks for educational use rose from 38 percent of device sales in 2014 to more than 50 percent in 2015, according to research firm FutureSource, topping 56 percent by the fourth quarter.
“The momentum behind Chromebooks continued to be driven by the need for districts to implement online assessments and Chromebooks have provided a cost effective way of doing this, as well as providing efficient device management both inside and outside of the classroom,” according to the FutureSource report.
In May, fashion retailer Neiman Marcus announced plans to deploy 37 ChargeItSpot phone charging kiosks in 30 of its stores. The kiosks allow users to charge their phones in a secure locker while they shop.
And when Clark Kent visits New York, he may end up changing into his Superman outfit at a phone charging kiosk instead of a phone booth. In June the city rolled out the first of 7,500 planned LinkNYC kiosks, designed to replace outdated pay phones with kiosks that offer ultra-fast Wi-Fi, a tablet for web browsing and two USB ports for charging mobile devices.
Increasingly, venues such as bars, restaurants and theaters are partnering with kiosk makers to deploy custom solutions as a free amenity for their customers
“There is immense potential for deployment of custom device charging station solutions,” said David McCracken, CEO of York, Pa.-based kiosk and digital signage software provider LiveWire Digital.
“The technology is already developed,” McCracken said. “Custom projects should begin popping up in short order, particularly given the endless ways to tie this into customer data collection, engagement, retention and experiential advertising.”
A choice of business models
Of course, although it’s clear that phone charging kiosks offer great benefits to consumers, for the technology to be successful in the long run it needs to offer a benefit for the deployer as well.
There are currently a number of models by which companies are using phone charging kiosks to promote their brand and boost their bottom line.
“We sell and straight-lease our units,” said Billy Gridley, CEO of New York-based phone charging kiosk provider Brightbox.
“The venue chooses whether to offer the charging amenity on a complimentary or pay-per-charge basis,” Gridley said. “Almost 80% of our globally deployed units are offered as a free amenity; brands and sponsors customized the kiosks with on-panel and on-screen content.”
Brightbox’ kiosks include several secure charging compartments, accessible by swiping a credit or debit card or by entering a code on the screen. The customer simply plugs in their phone, closes the compartment and walks away. A light glows green on the door of the compartment when the charging is complete, usually in about 35 minutes.
Brightbox’ Mark3 kiosk can be wall-mounted, table-top counter-mounted or freestanding stand-mounted. The company has more than 700 units deployed around the United States and in six other countries.
While Brightbox and others are targeting the pay-per-charge, advertising-based and brand-building models, others are finding success targeting a specific niche. New York-based ChargeItSpot, for example, targets retailers who want to offer phone charging as an extra service to their customers.
NV3 Technologies manufactures a variety of kiosks from lockers to solar-powered, but the most popular by far for the company is the hightop bar table, Doak said. The table fits into many environments from the obvious bar to tradeshows, events, universities and corporate lounges, allowing users to carry on a conversation while they charge their phones. The table can operate from a standard outlet or from a proprietary battery configuration allowing you to cut the cord.
ChargeItSpot’s kiosks also feature multiple secure lockers, each with a number of charging cables. The kiosks can charge about 98 percent of the phones on the market today. The company offers its kiosks in the United States and has recently expanded into Canada, partnering with retailers including Bloomingdales, Nordstrom and Urban Outfitters as well as a number of casino operators to locate kiosks in those venues.
“People can lock up their phone and continue with their shopping,” said Sheri Tate, senior vice president of product strategy with ChargeItSpot.
Customers access the lockers by entering their 10-digit phone number and choose a secondary security image on a 17-inch touchscreen on the face of the unit. Those screens are customizable with content provided by the retailer.
In exchange for a free charge, customers agree to accept a single text message from the retailer, allowing the retailer to build a database of the customers already in their stores.
The devices can also be accessed via a loyalty card, encouraging customers to sign up for a player’s card if they don’t already have one.
“Casinos have been one of our most successful partners,” Tate said.
“They receive thousands of visitors every day, with many of them staying on the gaming floors for long hours,” she said. “We wanted to give those customers a free amenity that would ensure an all-day connection. Our casino partners love how the charging kiosks encourage their customers to stick around and play longer.”
And that ability to capture customer data is proving to be one of the key benefits for retailers and other venues in providing charging services as an extra amenity. ChargeItSpot, goCharge and others offer the ability to capture email addresses, conduct customer surveys and gather mobile numbers via the attractor screen in exchange for a free charge.
“It’s the wave of the future, because you can interact with the customer,” said Bill Landau, senior vice president and director of sales with goCharge. The company has kiosks deployed throughout the United States and is expanding into Canada. It has also leased units for use in Mexico and Europe, and recently introduced what it terms “intelligent units,” specifically designed to trade a charge for customer info.
“The ability to gather than information can be very valuable for a business seeking to capture new business and build a customer database,” Landau said.
BrightBox – we have a kiosk product connected to and supported by a robust “open” Linux platform with web portals for: fleet management, content management, and data management and reporting (usage, survey data, email and SMS address collection, and audience measurement via our BrightEyeQ software and the on-unit camera. We permission our venues and partners to go onto our platform to run their businesses. Our operators (Brazil, Mexico, UK, Canada, Sweden, Chile) manage their connected kiosks on the platform; our clients manage their ad content and interactivity campaigns. No competitor does this for clients.
Kiosk Solutions Magazine Writeup on Charging Kiosks
We recommend the recent writeup in Kiosk Solutions Issue 2 which covered phone charging. See the online magazine here.
If Ian Hobson has his way, your phone will never run out of power again. Using an innovative charging service he aims to deliver secure, free charging in public places around the world. ChargeBox in UK.
Modern life relies heavily on smart devices, in particular mobile phones. With a pocket-sized device offering quick and easy access to the Internet for socialising, entertainment, good old fashioned phone calls and more, it’s no surprise we use them so much. We could live without them, of course, but when the power runs it can sometimes feel like the world is about to end. And that’s exactly where ChargeBox comes in…
1. How did you come up with the idea for ChargeBox?
It all started before the smartphone revolution, when battery life wasfantastic. Because of this people often went out without their charger, But when the battery finally did run out, it was difficult for people to charge their phone again. We wanted to solve this problem. Our initial success was with travellers who needed to charge their phones when in transit.
Once smartphones came along people began carrying their charger with them more because battery life was significantly reduced. But even with a charger to hand it’s not always possible to access a power outlet, and this is where we come in. And since charger connections have been reduced to just two main types – Apple and Micro USB rather than a unique charger for almost every phone, this side of the service is now much simpler than it was when we first started.
2. Why offer free charging?
Adoption of a free charging service parallels the way free WiFi proliferated a number of years ago. Public WiFi has been around for a while now, but in the early days it was expensive to use and the uptake was extremely limited. Now it’s even more readily available, and most importantly, it’s often free. The result, as you’d expect, is increased use and we think charging will follow the same path. In the run up to the Olympics Westfield Shopping Centre wanted to begin providing free WiFi to visitors.
They also wanted to offer free phone charging, and approached ChargeBox for a solution that would work in this type of location. A charging box that was secure was essential to this, along with a simple service anyone can use. Our goal is to make as many charging stations as possible around the globe free. Making them free relies on sites paying for the service themselves, or using sponsorship in some form. Retailers will often skin the units to keep them in-line with their brand.
Interested in seeing how Microsoft technologies like Windows 10, Microsoft Azure and Office 365 are transforming commercial industry solutions in Retail, Hospitality, Financial Services, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Public Sector and more?
Walmart Innovation Lab 415-C is opening submissions to technology companies wanting to be selected for Walmart’s “Technology Innovation Open Call” on Oct. 6, 2016. Submission deadline is July 22, 2016 or the first 250 submissions. Submissions should include a three-minute video and written overview of the company.
During the open call event, vendors will meet with key technology leaders to pitch innovative solutions/technology for retail, logistics, big data, security and social media. It is anticipated that more than 100 of Walmart technologists, leaders and senior leaders will meet with companies.
“As part of Walmart Technology, Lab 415-C actively seeks to engage emerging technology in order to better understand how to serve our customers,” said Tom Douglass, director of Walmart Lab 415-C. “Our goal in the event is not only to offer these companies a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but to keep Walmart on the cutting edge of technology.”
Not only is the open call aimed at finding technology, but it is also designed to companies to better understand working with Walmart Technology. To accomplish this, Lab 415-C will be hosting an information session prior to the pitch event.
The Walmart Lab 415-C “Technology Innovation Open Call” event is part of the 2016 Northwest Arkansas Technology Summit hosted by the Northwest Arkansas Technology Council as part of the Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce.
Submission deadline is July 22, 2016 or the first 250 entries. You will be notified by August 1, 2016 if your company is selected for the Open Call. If selected your company will travel to Bentonville, Arkansas in October to present.
Digital store fronts rapidly become ‘best practice’ on the high street
WHSmith, perhaps considered a rather traditional or whimsical retailer (given its 18th century roots, I don’t think that’s an insult), has recently announced plans to introduce digital screens to 100 store fronts.
The 55-inch screens will promote Smith’s products as well as displaying third-party advertising.
When Graham Charlton wrote about Primark’s giant video walls in 2013, the sight was pretty fresh on the high street. Now, any fashionable retailer knows that digital shopfronts are a must-have.
For all the beauty that a department store’s Christmas window display can bring, the ability to use video is a powerful way to attract footfall.
To put it another way, in 2016, the idea of receiving a delivery of posters, signage and point-of-sale material from head office every time a campaign or line changes feels increasingly outdated.
Retail Industry technology – What’s now & next for digital technology in retail stores? was last modified: May 1st, 2016 by Kiosk Industry
Smart technology consumer products are breaking the interactive retail barrier in creative, educational and experiential ways. Frank Mayer and Associates, Inc. sponsored a white paper, “Interactive retail opens the door to market growth”, delving into this topic and what to watch for in the coming year.
An excerpt from the whitepaper:
While more and more retailers offer experiential retail, VR, wearables and connected products offer unique interaction that, as of yet, is nearly untapped. According to David Anzia, senior vice president of sales, Frank Mayer and Associates Inc., “The potential is endless, and that’s where brick-and-mortar companies can use their imagination to drive traffic. The possibilities are absolutely limitless.”
Olea’s retail kiosks offer large touchscreen and multi-touch screens that enable customers to easily customize multiple aspects of their desired products. For example, a customer may want to customize a pair of shoes, and could use the retail kiosk to easily swipe the screen to preview the different color options available.
Another benefit of the “endless aisle” is customization. Where multiple colors or styles are available for an item, retailers can stock a generic display unit on the shop floor, and if a customer would like to customize the color or style, they can do so via the retail kiosk, ordering the item of their choosing. This type interaction between brick and mortar retail and e-commerce is commonly referred to as omni-channel retailing, and has been proven to have a major positive impact on a retailer’s bottom-line ROI.
Editors Note: when you use the word ROI (which isn’t a word) people think different things. Here is one point of view.
ROI Point of View
Take a company like Panera which is now offering customer driven ordering. Same-store sales growth for Panera and the results are incredibly strong. The last six quarters are up 16.1% (an average of over 8% each year) and continue to rise. Companies are now jumping on board to invest in Panera’s stock which is growing far higher than the industry average. [as of April 2016 and figuring original forecast of $6.64 a share]
Retail kiosk Providing Endless Aisles & Happier Customers! was last modified: April 22nd, 2016 by Kiosk Industry