Interactive kiosks enhance in-store shopping experience


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By: Issa Sikiti da Silva

Interactive kiosks improve customer satisfaction, promote green, reinforce brand image, minimise customer interaction with personnel and therefore avoid queues and extended waiting time, Norma Wolcott, IBM business line executive of self-service products, said yesterday, Tuesday 4 May 2010, from Virginia, US.

ÔÇ£The age of socially connect consumers is here. As the consumer becomes more instrumented, interconnected and intelligent and has deconstructed the shopping process, buoyed by the global economy’s change of buying behaviour, retailers are forced to address many other changes impacting on their industry,ÔÇØ Wolcott said.

Wolcott was addressing delegates at the 2010 JusTTouchIT summit by video-conference at the Midrand Conference Centre in Johannesburg.

She pointed out that self-service has become an important retail tool in this age when the pace of change is accelerating, and creating unique challenges and altering the competitive landscape.

Self-service comes out tops

A major survey commissioned by NCR Labs in 2009 found that 86% of respondents would prefer to do business with companies offering self-service, Mark Grossi, NCR Labs V-P, revealed yesterday.

ÔÇ£Self-service will become a key player in the next 10 years or so,ÔÇØ Grossi said, adding that identification and authentication, system and consumer interaction and fulfillment constitute the ingredients of the self-service transaction.

Wolcott said: ÔÇ£Around the world retailers are expanding their private label, and with reduced barriers new business models and applications are emerging in the retail industry.ÔÇØ

Emphasising the future of interactive kiosks, she said that in 2010 transactions at self-service kiosks will surpass US$1.7 trillion (about R12.58 trillion) in North America alone.

Wolcott said: ÔÇ£Self-service delivers relevant, reliable information at the point of decision, and allows companies to offer a broader range of products without the inventory costs.

ÔÇ£It also automates routine tasks, such as check out, which allows retailers to redeploy valuable resources and personnel. Do not make your customers wait too long.ÔÇØ

Taking a virtual ride, yeah!

In South Africa, where the interactive kiosk technology is slowing trickling in, some businesses are said to be taking advantage of this ÔÇÿnew form of marketing’ and are therefore getting positive rewards.

Gauteng-based dealership Harley Davidson, located in Boksburg near East Rand Mall, has entered into a partnership with Yeahpoint to launch a daring campaign called ÔÇÿVisualise Your Ride’, whereby potential customers are lured to view their giant touch screens and navigate around different ÔÇÿflavours’ of bikes.

ÔÇ£It is about getting your name out there because the market place is getting tougher day by day,ÔÇØ Sean Shipalana, dealer principal at Harley Gold Rand, told delegates.

Shipalana said thanks to this strategy and their partnership with Yeahpoint, the business has managed to build a database of customers through the process of registering on the kiosks.

ÔÇ£The catalogue of bikes is massive but the simplicity of this method helps us a lot. Once people visualise their bikes, then they are in better position to buy a new bike.

ÔÇ£We did get a positive response and surely the motor company sat up and took notice.

ÔÇ£And we believe that the way forward is to add more functionality to the existing applications and align the developments to Gold Rand marketing initiatives.

ÔÇ£It is a huge benefit leveraging and it reduces costs,ÔÇØ he said.

Wolcott said: ÔÇ£Multi-function kiosks provide engaging advertising platforms and easy-to-use kiosks allow customers to quickly research and compare thousands of products.

Furthermore, she said while interactive kiosks fully integrate e-commerce platforms and inventory database to deliver virtual inventory extension, they can also help consumers order specialty out of stock and hard-to-find items.

ÔÇ£At the end of the day, they improve the retail bottom line and customer satisfaction.ÔÇØ

Go to www.justtouchit.co.za

Source: www.bizcommunity.com

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