Last week, we talked about the impact self-service kiosks have had on the banking industry in recent years. New technologies such as ATA (Automated Teller Assist) ATMs are helping to improve the bottom lines of financial powerhouses like Bank of America, while keeping customer satisfaction high by allowing easier and broader access to processes and services. This week, we wrap up our series on the future of self-service kiosks by taking a look at how automation will affect the retail sector in the coming years.
“People have said when checkout is working really well, it will feel like stealing. You grab a pair of shoes and you just walk out.” That’s how Michael Chui, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute, described the future of retail in an article by the National Retail Federation (NRF). While this may seem far-fetched, it’s not as futuristic a concept as it may first appear. Just like barcodes now transmit product information to a POS system, someday, inexpensive sensors embedded in merchandise will do the same — only automatically — and charge your purchases to your payment method on file when you exit the store.
At the same time, it’s easy to dream up the self-service scenarios of the future while forgetting that if the end user isn’t happy, any new technology or implementation will quickly go the way of the dinosaur. Take CVS, for example, who just this past October began removing self-checkouts from a number of their stores, due to customer dissatisfaction with the experience. Or Morrisons, one of the “Big Four” supermarket chains in the UK, who found themselves doing the same earlier this year.
What it comes down to is that the implementation of self-service technology — especially when used at retail, where consumers have a seemingly-endless array of stores to choose from and have no problem voting with their dollars — must be looked at wholistically. It can’t be simply a cost-cutting measure; instead, it must keep customer satisfaction front and center. Self-service kiosks must make the customer’s life easier by adding value to the transaction — greater convenience, speed or overall efficiency, coupled with fewer opportunities for human error and more potential for personalized service. Millennials in particular expect technology that offers a seamless experience and have no problem walking away from a solution that doesn’t meet their needs or requirements for a product or service. It is especially important to keep this perspective in mind when exploring new self-service technologies as the Millennial generation will only amass more buying power as it continues to age.
Finding the right partner to execute a self-service kiosk program is crucial to any deployment’s success. RedyRef’s range of fully-integrated manufacturing solutions allow what is often a complex process to be handled completely in house, from design to delivery. When combined with our industry-leading customer service, we make it easy for companies of all sizes to join the automation revolution. Give us a call at (800) 628-3603 ext 525 or submit a request for proposal online and our team will be with you every step of the way.