Kiosk market could be ready to grow

According to a recent Ipsos-Reid study, Canadians want self-service devices for shopping.

Sponsored by NCR – a major manufacturer of kiosks – the study reveals Canadian consumers are keen to adopt a range of new technologies that retailers are looking to introduce. For example, over one-quarter

(27 per cent) of respondents said they would be more likely to shop at a store that offers self-checkout technology, which allows shoppers to scan, bag and pay for goods themselves, as opposed to one that does not.

Among those respondents more likely to shop at a store with self-checkout than without, major benefits cited include choice in how they check out (86 per cent), speed of checkout (85 per cent), shorter lines (84 per cent), control (75 per cent) and privacy (71 per cent).

When it comes to other technologies that can improve the store experience, at least eight in ten (83 per cent) consumers would like to see retailers offer kiosks for price-checking, and 61 per cent indicate they would use kiosks to get product information. Fifty-two per cent liked the idea of a kiosk for pre-ordering deli items, and having the order fulfilled while they shop elsewhere in the store.

The Ipsos-Reid study showed that some 63 per cent of Canadian consumers feel it is important for stores to have easily accessible personnel on the floor, at a greeter station or at a customer service desk. Retailers could improve customer service if staff were allocated to these areas.

According to NCR, the growth in self-service will not be restricted just to grocery stores. Many airlines, including WestJet, are deploying kiosks to expedite the check-in process. WestJet’s self-serve check-in program allows passengers to check in using either a credit card or confirmation number, make seat selections, check their bags and print their own boarding passes.

An NCR press release describing the study quoted Don Bell, WestJet’s executive vice-president for guest services, as saying that “an average of 30 to 40 per cent of our passengers use our self-serve check-in kiosks. However, it’s not uncommon that during busy times, as high as 70 per cent of customers take the self-service route.”

The trend toward self-service is expected to increase as kiosks make their way into fast-food restaurants for pre-ordering, cell phone stores for faster bill payment and car rental agencies for making or updating reservations.

NCR subsidiary Kinetics just introduced CheckinHere, a kiosk solution that allows passengers to check in to their flights at off-airport locations, such as hotels and cruise ports.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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