Self-service kiosks are taking the grocery market by storm, but that’s only when stores prepare their teams and budgets.
As consumers become increasingly accustomed to self-service options, the demand for kiosks is skyrocketing. But how can grocers navigate this exciting new world of automation and make the most of this trend?
Interactive kiosk sales saw a 20% gain, totaling $14.52 billion in 2022 according to the Kiosk Marketplace Census. That does not include ATMs and refreshment vending machines, however. And rising consumer acceptance of self-service isn’t the only factor driving this growth.
With a recovering supply chain, enhanced technology, and a growing labor shortage, the grocery store kiosk has become essential. Self-service kiosks can bring several benefits, such as reducing wait times, improving order accuracy, and freeing up staff. Yet, like any new technology, there are some operational hurdles to overcome.
Self-service kiosks are taking the grocery market by storm, but that’s only when stores prepare their teams and budgets. Let’s take a look at some of the challenges and how grocers can mitigate them for a successful rollout.
Empower Employees through Training, Change Management
Kiosks might be simple to use from the customer’s perspective, but the options for staff are increasingly growing. They need to ensure menus, out-of-orders, dietary requirements, and pricing are accurate for the safety and satisfaction of consumers.
In addition, the need for grocery staff to be more tech-savvy is also increasing—by 64% according to McKinsey & Co. So, what can be done?
Kiosks’ technological advancements make it easier to pre-program item quantities and automatically populate dietary information. That said, grocers require an effective change management communication strategy for employees to adopt new practices and information accurately.
For smooth sailing, share your vision with the staff and get them on board. Then show them the path to achieve successful process changes. Each staff member should receive a minimum hour of training post-kiosk set-up. And have weekly or bi-weekly check-ins, moving to monthly reviews once the team is well-adjusted. However, that’s not all.
Communicating changes and testing staff’s ability to understand new processes is the difference between someone quitting under stress or feeling excited by the latest tools. It’s essential employees feel they are treated equally and have space to take extra time adapting if needed.
Allowing them to redo functionality tests as often as they want to will help them confidently complete their tasks. So ensure you have a demo model for them to test and play with to get the best results.
Navigating Connectivity Issues and Out-of-Service Kiosks
No matter how expensive the kiosk or the data network is, connectivity issues are a possibility. That’s why it’s better to ensure you put your money on a vendor that provides technical support.
For example, you could buy a kiosk for $500 from overseas but need help getting back online. However, it goes deeper than that.
While a simple switch off and on of the computer often works, it’s not always that simple. If the whole system is glitching, it might be time for advanced technical support.
That said, Kiosks ranging from $2,000 and above with support and troubleshooting will help you keep on top of your maintenance regularly so you can continue focusing on customers’ orders.
Look for vendors that offer hardware and software as they can solve both problems. They should also provide regular updates and maintenance.
In addition, grocers that give positive customer experiences make 5.7 times more income according to The Wise Marketer. While a server being down is out of the staff’s control, how it’s handled is up to them. Ask staff what contingency plans they would like to implement for cases where technical issues occur, even momentarily. Perhaps they choose to return to paper, in which case, make sure the notepads are ready.
While those issues may be noticeable, they’re worthwhile when you see all the benefits.
Get the Budget Up to Scratch
There are various kiosk use cases across large and mini stores. In every scenario though, the kiosk brings data; that’s a benefit for grocers.
For instance, a two-store Local Express client has implemented a few kiosks and already receives 500 orders a week. Since launching, the store saw a 25% increase in basket size orders. Its unjudging computer asks, “Would you like to add extra cheese,” removing roadblocks from impulse purchases and providing upselling opportunities.
To know whether the kiosks are worth it, stores can see what customers are purchasing and how much they’re spending. This demonstrates the kiosks’ impact on sales.
Often stores can get ROI in a few months. In cases with low foot traffic, it will take longer for ROI. Even with just one customer though, grocers capture useful information to support future sales and marketing.
Additionally, kiosks with integrated analytics systems can show how efficiently orders are fulfilled and identify points of delay in real time. This helps alert grocers when their team might need extra training or support.
Did more items need to be prepared or staff added at peak times? Regularly checking in with employees and offering tools to enhance their skills will help them adapt quickly.
With ongoing maintenance support, careful budgeting, and a close eye on analytics, smaller stores can stay ahead of the curve and boost their sales within months.