Category Archives: Loyalty Card Kiosk

Mind the Air Gap – Part 2

Mike Masone - Sales Director at SlabbKiosks

Mike Masone – Sales Director at SlabbKiosks

We’re happy to share the second part of an interesting article by our Sales Director, Mike Masone – Mind the Gap – Part 2. The article was originally published on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

Gravity LessonsIn the last post I discussed the importance of an air gap for security and anonymity.

Of course nothing is free, and that security comes at the cost of data exchange & collection. Anonymity is good, unless it is your customers who are unknown to you!

Don’t let your customers fall into the air-gap and out of your electronic systems.

Companies sometimes ‘solve’ this issue by creating a mobile app for customers to use. Unfortunately, customers aren’t leaping to install un-trusted apps on the most important possession many of them have just for your benefit.

We want to hold the customers by the hand and take baby steps that benefit both parties. Of course it would be great if customers installed an app that gave you unfettered access to their digital world but that happens less and less as users become more savvy and retake their privacy. This holds especially true at the start of your relationship with them.

Putting ‘apps’ aside we have seen one strategy most adopted and successful. It requires a bit of back and forth with your customer and requires a piece of technology from each of you, a good start to your relationship.

  • You provided customer a code to scan – such as QR from a micro site or printed a bill,coupon, or off of a website. An ID can be scanned to start the process for unknown customers.
  • Customer takes the action of scanning that code on your kiosk.
  • Your kiosk screens lead the customer through the desired process on the kiosk.
  • Optional – You provide the customer another scannable code via SMS or printout to close the transaction.
  • Customer uses that code on their next transaction.

You, them, you, them this back and forth will build trust if done correctly. Using the right equipment will ensure that this process is fool proof and efficient which is important as well. USB cameras are cheaper but lack the performance, flexibility, and upgradability of dedicated scan engines. When possible, we use high quality dedicated scan engines from Dolphin Data Capture for many of our projects, leveraging their expertise especially during software development is important.

Maintaining some distance between you and your customers isn’t a bad thing as long as you have a mechanism in place to lead them through the steps you need to take together to build a stronger relationship.

How Kiosks Make Our Daily Lives Easier – Part 1

Kiosks have been mentioned quite often in the news lately, from Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) like Panera and McDonalds adopting the technology, to New York City’s conversion of their iconic phone booths to Wi-Fi Kiosks. These are just a few examples, but for a long time, interactive kiosks have been in use or could be found in many places we go to everyday and have been making our lives a lot easier; you just may not have realized.

 

An Information Kiosk providing internet services

An Information Kiosk providing internet services

One of the basic uses of kiosks is to provide information, whether about a company, a service, an event or location. Information kiosks can be used anywhere information needs to be disseminated, but many are used in museums, malls or lobbies. They can also be used to provide internet access or Wi-Fi to patrons or customers. They often take the form of interactive signage that utilize wayfinding applications. (We will discuss wayfinding kiosks in more detail in Part 2 of this blog). A great example is the information kiosks at Frankfurt airport that read boarding passes and direct passengers to where they need to be.

 

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Companies often use information kiosks to communicate with employees. These human resource kiosks, in addition to providing company information, give employees access to administrative forms such as leave requests, employee manuals, insurance information or even internal training sessions. They can also be used to access the company’s intranet. A great example of the use of human resource kiosks can be seen here.

 

The use of kiosks to provide human resource services can also be extended to job applicants as kiosks provide a convenient way to accept job applications. Prospective candidates can enter their information at kiosks placed at the company’s head office or in the case of retail, at the location with the job vacancy.

 
The popularity of kiosks is probably as a direct result of their self-service applications. In a world where time is precious and consumers are more ‘hands on’, many users prefer having the option of conducting business or paying for services via a machine. It is one of the reasons kiosks can be found in many retail locations.

 

A Loyalty Card Kiosk

A Loyalty Card Kiosk

Retail kiosks, which are often confused with Retail Merchandising units which can also be found at malls with novelty items for sale, are manned units and can be considered mini stores. The retail kiosks we are referring to are electronic units that can be used at stores to accept payments, issue gift/loyalty cards or provide a catalog of a store’s inventory, making it easier for customers to peruse available items and request out of stock items or additional models and colors that may be available at other store locations. It eliminates the need for them to drive to other branches, as orders can be delivered to the location of their choice. It also provides a great opportunity to collect customer data via surveys or purchase history to inform future marketing campaigns or offers.

 
These kiosks can also be used to offer additional services including payment of store credit cards or utility bills, sale updates and coupons or a gift registry. It often eliminates the need to have additional staff for these services and are conveniently accessible after store hours. Some of these services can provide operators with additional revenue through transaction/service fees.

 
Many of the retail self-service applications mentioned above, can be used in other industries including hospitality, healthcare, airports and airlines and restaurants. Hotels and airports use kiosks to provide a more efficient way of checking in, allowing travelers to avoid the frustration of long lines.

 

A Patient Registration kiosk

Patient Registration kiosk

Self-service check in has also now been extended to the healthcare industry to assist in patient management. Patients are now allowed to check in on arrival at a doctor’s office or medical facility allowing front desk staff to easily access their information while eliminating the need for excessive paperwork.

 

 

 

A Self-Service Checkout kiosk at a micro market location

A Self-Service Checkout kiosk at a micro market location

Self-service checkout kiosks, as mentioned in our opening paragraph, are also gaining popularity at restaurants. The goal is to make ‘fast’ food even faster by allowing customers to place their orders via a kiosk, ensuring they get exactly what they want on their order, without standing in line. It still remains to be seen if they truly provide a faster service, as orders still have to be fulfilled by servers which still leaves room for human error as well as variations in the speed of service.

 
Self-checkout kiosks are not only used for fast food, but also for food purchases at supermarkets and micro markets. Both allow customers to access goods and scan and pay for them at the kiosk. It eliminates the need to stand in line and in the case of micro markets, provides a healthy, quick lunch option for workers.

 
Kiosks provide many benefits to both the businesses that operate them, as well as to end users. Hence the reason they are so widely used. Some of the benefits of kiosks include:
• An enhanced customer service experience
• They facilitate the collection and management of customer data
• They provide value-added services
• They allow extended service beyond standard store hours
• They almost always provide a positive Return on Investment (ROI)
• They decrease wait times for customers
• They assist in reducing employee hiring and training costs
• They provide a great avenue for product marketing and company branding

 
These are just a few of the benefits of kiosks. We will continue to explore additional services available via kiosks for various industries in Part 2 of this blog.

 

 

The Joy of Self-service Kiosks and Holiday Shopping

christmas shoppingIt’s that time of the year when your fingers tingle from the cold air (depending on where you live) and/or from the pure excitement this season brings, no matter how old you are. However, despite the warm and fuzzy feeling that the holidays bring, unless you’re super organized and complete your shopping online by the end of November, let’s face it, most of us dread what awaits us at the shopping malls and retail outlets, starting the day after Thanksgiving.

 

 
Wouldn’t it be great to maneuver through the crowds, select our items and not have to stand in a long lines? While self-service kiosks may not be able to lessen the crowd, they certainly can make the shopping process a little easier. Here are some benefits of using self-service kiosks during the holidays.

 

 
They’re easy to use
‘Easy’ is exactly what most of us look for while shopping during the holiday season – uncomplicated deals along with ease of access to products and services. Self-service kiosks provide an easy alternative to purchasing your items.

 

 

 

They provide additional services
Our lists seem to multiply during the holiday season, including our ‘to do’ lists. During the excitement of the season, it’s easy to forget that they are still bills to pay, coupons to redeem and gift cards to access. Many self-service kiosks provide these extra services allowing you to top up prepaid credit cards or gift cards, pay utility bills and even access loans. Some of these, such as the gift cards and prepaid cards are great, hassle-free gift options, as well.

 

 

 

No Cash? No problem
Self-service kiosks provide various payment options so you can purchase your items with credit and bank cards or cash. There is no longer the need to look for an ATM before purchasing your items.

 

 

 

They’re convenient
This goes without saying, as any device that allows you to avoid long lines when you have a long ‘to do’ list, is always convenient.

 

 

 

They enhance the shopping experience
If you’re a frequent shopper at a store that has a loyalty program, based on your past purchase patterns, the kiosk can highlight promotions, offer options and provide coupons based on your preferences.

 

 

 

They can help you get exactly what you want
Doesn’t it sometimes seem that particularly during the holiday rush, you see the item that you want advertised, but can’t locate it at the store? A self-service kiosk can locate it for you. It can also provide additional information about the store branches that have the item in stock, along with details such as color and size options.

 

 

 

They may assist you in making a final decision
If you are uncertain about a product that you wish to purchase, a kiosk can provide you with product specifications and additional details that may not be apparent by just looking at the item, including warranty information, along with product and price comparisons.

 

 

 

A Slabb X6 self-service kiosk at a mall

A Slabb X6 self-service kiosk at a mall

Self-service kiosks provide many benefits, benefits that are great throughout the year, but are even more appreciated during the holiday rush. The great thing about self-service kiosks is that they simply provide an alternative; so if you’re one of those exhilarated by the rush and long lines, or simply feel more comfortable with face to face contact, the option of interacting with a sales representative is always there. The choice is yours.

A Great Way to Reward Loyal Customers

It can be assumed that one of the main goals of any business is to make or increase profit. In order to do that, a business must have customers. We’ve all heard the many sayings about the importance of satisfying customers by providing optimal customer service. One of my favorites is from James Cash Penny who said, “Courteous treatment will make a customer a walking advertisement.”

 

 

It seems easy enough, but it also requires knowing what customers want and very often companies seem to get something this simple, so very wrong. Business owners are customers themselves and should think of what they expect as a customer and take a step further…What would they expect as a loyal customer?                                                                       How often have you been a loyal customer of a particular company, only to see them focus their efforts on only acquiring new customers, as you seem to fade or become almost invisible because you regularly purchase from them or frequently use their service?

 

 
It’s a mistake many companies make that can easily be avoided with a dedicated loyalty plan or program. Incidentally, loyalty programs go back as far as the 1700s, when an American merchant distributed copper tokens to consumers in exchange for store items. Similar programs continued to be developed over the years with the distribution of certificates that could be redeemed for specific items, box top offers, prizes, promotional items such as a toy in a kid’s meals and coupons.

 

 
Today, many loyalty programs use cards that track rewards and allow customers to easily redeem points earned. Their benefits have been proven and include:

 

 
• The acquisition of new customers
• The retention of existing customers
• They can be used to segment customers by using grading rewards. The level or type of reward is dependent on the amount spent by the customer. This allows customers to move up the various spend segments.
• Computerized loyalty cards allow businesses to access important data about customers including spending habits and customer demographics.
• The data obtained from loyalty cards can assist businesses in better targeting customers with more relevant advertising and well planned in-store merchandising.
• It can provide an incentive for ‘lost’ customers to return.
• It is a great opportunity to build relationships with customers
• A loyal customer is more likely to become a brand advocate
• In the case of micro-markets some employers provide loyalty cards that allow employees to get a discount on items when they make healthier purchases.

 

 

 

Loyalty Kiosk - Customized Slabb X6

Loyalty Kiosk – Customized Slabb X6

Implementation of loyalty programs has also become easier through the use of loyalty card kiosks. They are easy to use and provide a convenient way for customers to purchase and activate cards as well as redeem points or rewards. They typically require a card dispenser, ID reader and authenticator and card reader and require little or no staff supervision because they are so easy to use. These kiosks can also allow businesses to provide users with additional information on current promotions and company information as well as the ongoing advertising of products and services.

 

 
Slabb provides various options for businesses interested in loyalty card kiosks. For additional information on an easy way to reward your loyal customers, visit our Solutions page.