The Self-Service Kiosk: Why now is the perfect time to take the next step for the growth of your business.

Arch Order
Jun 22, 2023

We are in the midst of the perfect market conditions for physical retail businesses to take that all important next step in improving their venue efficiency.

It’s becoming harder for scaling businesses to ignore that integrating with technology is what’s going to help your business to grow by meeting the changing needs of customers. But how can business owners be sure that they’re making this next step in the right way at the right time?

We’ve analysed the evolution of self-service kiosks and how this impacts on customer preferences, the secret ingredients for success within the tech industry as a whole, as well as the latest in user expectations and experiences. From this continual and careful analysis, we can confidently say that our Arch software is perfectly positioned to capitalise on current, optimum conditions across these different contexts.

Self-service kiosks: What’s changed in the industry?

From the use of the first vending machine in the 1880s, to how kiosks enhance our shopping experience today, the last century has seen a sporadic, hardware based evolution to the self-service kiosk. The majority of updates to the kiosk were focused on the physical look and feel of the technology, with minimal adaptations made to the capabilities of the technology itself.

But with the dot com boom in 1995, the internet changed the way we interacted with information forever, and customers began to want the same high quality of user experience from their self-service kiosks. Since then, self-service kiosks have been utilised to harness digital information and capabilities to engage users and enhance the experience for customers in a quick and cost-effective way.

This more recent focus on a customer journey defined by speed and a more seamless purchasing experience has been met with the creation of software that utilises information and analytics to meet these growing demands. As a result, business owners who are utilising the capabilities of high-quality self-service software are finding solutions to reduce costs whilst increasing customer spend by an average of 15-20%.

The Secret Ingredient in the Customer Experience: Harness the Power of Software

The adoption of this customer experience solution has also been exacerbated by the recent shifts in the technology industry. If we examine what tech giants like Tesla and Apple’s iPhone have in common, both are driven by a software first approach, utilising the high quality hardware as a tool to deliver the software capabilities. Tesla’s market leading user experience is created through easy upgrades to the customer with improved software, whilst users of the iPhone are able to enjoy the benefits of software updates that are rolled out in between upgrades to the iPhone hardware model. Not only does this keep customers of both of these brands engaged with the product and the service it provides, customers know that changes in the way they interact with the technology are being mirrored and improved upon by the software of the product. Both organisations, like Arch, have grasped a holistic view to the creation and improvement of products, and view hardware as a delivery platform for what their software, enhanced by greater data and analytic frameworks, bring.

Given that the first 100 years of evolution for self-service kiosks was defined by hardware upgrades, what we’re now seeing is how the self-service sector is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the software first mentality that’s dominating the tech industry. Whilst the right hardware design of a self-service kiosk, such as a slim touch screen, can cement the success of kiosks across a venue, this framing becomes secondary to what the software can do for the user experience you’re trying to create.

As the iPhone and Tesla have shown us, these are both software solutions. Whilst you need hardware that can deliver the capabilities of the software, the core of the user experience comes from the software.

Why now? The Context for UK Stores & Hospitality Venues

In addition to the historic context of kiosk usage as well as the evolution of software focused product creation, what we’re seeing across the UK is further circumstances which point towards self-service kiosks being the natural next step for growing businesses. Over the last five years, we’ve seen a rising trend towards smaller stores, such as popup shops and small format stores, which allows for quicker expansion to new locations whilst keeping overheads down. This widens opportunity for location expansion in listed buildings, or spaces with construction and design constraints.

This period has also presented changes to customer expectations as a result of covid, which self-service kiosks are perfectly positioned to meet. With shoppers being forced to shop online throughout lockdown, we are now in a period where business owners need to bridge the gap between the in person and the online shopping experiences that customers have become so accustomed to throughout the pandemic. Part of this means supplying customers the in-store information that is so easily accessible online, such as product details, dimensions, materials etc. CEO of leading in-location experience platform Raydiant, Bobby Marhamat recently hailed the secret ingredient that business owners can use if they want to take advantage of the post-covid customer context: investing in technology.

Both of these trends, in addition to the hospitality hiring crisis we’re seeing at the moment, means that business owners are struggling to create a consistent and cohesive customer experience that shoppers are looking for with minimal hands on deck.

An Agile, Software-Led Approach to Capitalising on these Contexts

What does an agile approach mean? At Arch, the team operates [link to book a demo in here] on a software first approach. Given how all of the trends and key context areas we’ve explored above have tied up the perfect positioning of self-service kiosks as the next step for growing businesses, we can use our agility to capitalise on the recent developments across all of these areas. At Arch, we preserve this agility with each of our clients by starting small, learning, improving, adapting and iterating after every move. We let your customers use the software, learn from this data, and use this as a springboard to implement a flexible scaling process, with efficiency and profitability as our key KPIs.

With our test kiosks, we experiment signposting throughout your stores, and how self-service kiosks can be used to improve the in store experience, and by extension, customer journey, as you are trying to create. What works for one brand in terms of number of kiosks, placement, interface and design elements doesn’t necessarily work for all.

The Arch team can bring the sum of all this knowledge in our agile approach to scaling your business in a way that’s right for you. Using our tried and tested framework, driven by a software first approach, we’ll craft a bespoke scaling plan to fit your unique needs. Reach out to the team to book a demo [link to book a demo in here], and find out how we can help you make the most of these perfect conditions for expansion.