Consumers demand consistent, high-quality service and product availability and increasingly expect more from the shopping experience. Retailers require an integrated set of solutions that help to increase revenue, build loyalty, extend their product offerings, reduce costs and support their stores in a multi-channel world.
Kiosks help retailers reach more customers and drive incremental revenue by helping customers find what they want, which reduces lost sales. They provide price comparisons, which increases customer confidence and boosts customer satisfaction and loyalty. With kiosks, retailers also can provide customers with a wider assortment of merchandise without adding retail space and complement store offerings with value-added extras, such as a vacation planning kiosk.
Earlier this year, Metro Group implemented IBM's Anyplace Kiosk as part of a guided selling system designed to deliver product information instantaneously to shoppers at METRO Group's Future Store in Rheinberg, Germany.
"It is important to give shoppers the information at the time and place they need it," says Dr. Gerd Wolfram, project leader of the Metro Group Future Store Initiative. "Advanced technology like the IBM Anyplace Kiosk will give us the ability to offer shoppers that kind of information in a timely way, and we believe that will enhance the overall shopping experience."
In order to satisfy customers and virtually eliminate lost sales, Borders has deployed thousands of Title Sleuth self-service kiosks in stores across the nation. The program allows customers to determine if a book, CD or movie is in stock at the store they are visiting or at a nearby Borders location. Title Sleuth also provides title recommendations and calendars for in-store events.
Borders used Netkey software for the successful deployment of the original Title Sleuth kiosks chain-wide in 2000. Now, the retailer is licensing the complete Netkey 6.5 platform for the development, deployment, monitoring and management of the applications and computer hardware used for the kiosk network and other new self-service and digital merchandising initiatives.
The NCR EasyPoint Mini is a thin-client interactive device that offers kiosk functionality at the cost of a price-checker. The device supports multimedia functionality applications, including executing loyalty and targeted marketing programs, locating merchandise or providing additional product information and collecting customer information updates. The kiosk uses the Intel x-scale processor for improved power and memory. Enhanced connectivity maximizes peripheral support and interface capability. Customers also can choose an integrated 1- or 2- dimensional scanner, serial printer or keyboard for further flexibility.
Wincor Nixdorf's Beetle /S kiosk terminal is an individually configurable, space-saving kiosk terminal especially for indoor use in retail environments. The system offers an intuitive user inter-face via a flat display with touchscreen functionality. The TFT technology used permits brilliant presentation of the information. The terminal has built-in speakers, supporting sound-based applications, as well as a card reader allowing the use of magnetic strip or chip-based customer cards.
IBM Anyplace Kiosk solutions combine computing power, an infrared (IR) touchscreen display and optional peripherals in a slim, tapered design. An integrated mini-PCI slot enables advanced, high-speed wireless LAN connectivity via an 802.11b/g adapter. USB and serial ports accommodate a variety of external peripherals. The optional integrated magnetic stripe reader (MSR) and barcode scanners connect via internal ports. Flexible enough for thick-client or thin-client configurations, the kiosk can accommodate an optional 40GB4 hard disk drive. External attachment points allow retailers to customize kiosks by attaching brand-specific signage, faceplates or peripherals.
Epson's EU-T300 series of kiosk printers provides reliable, cost-effective drop-in solutions for basic kiosk printing applications. The series offers Windows, Linux and NT drivers and standard serial, parallel and USB interfaces. Featuring a horizontal chassis, they're equipped with front loading of four inch and six inch paper rolls and high-speed printing up to six inches per second on a wide variety of paper sizes and thicknesses. The printers are rugged enough for indoor and outdoor retail environments and offer a modular design for easy maintenance.
The Netkey 6.5 platform for retail self-service and digital merchandising management is comprised of two integrated modules -- Netkey Designer, an integrated development environment (IDE) for the rapid creation of self-service applications, and Netkey Manager, for the remote management of self-service applications and devices. The platform offers application and interface authoring, and peripheral device integration as well as content scheduling and delivery. Another feature is Agent Framework Â€” device-level software components that perform simple tasks and are compact enough to run on small footprint devices. Part of Netkey Manager, Agents perform many of the critical functions relating to the remote monitoring, content and data delivery, communications and messaging.
Symbol's MK2000 includes an icon-based 6.4-inch full-color display, integrated bar code scanner, 400 MHz processor, Microsoft CE.NET operating system, stereo speakers and optional touch screen, along with full video and audio capabilities. Its compact, ergonomic design has a depth of less than four inches.
The kiosk features a wireless or wired Ethernet connection and four programmable function buttons. The Symbol MK2000 also supports Symbol AirBEAM Smart for automated software management and device configuration. The kiosk can run power over its Ethernet connection and is based on an open systems architecture.