Wherever you go today, a favorite coffee place, fast-food chain, even checking in at the airport, the chances are that you’ll interact with digital kiosks at least once. More than ever customers are appreciating the ease of using self-service features. Research indicates 60 percent of all customers would visit a retail location more often if kiosks were offered.* This trend has driven a high demand for developers who can build quick and agile kiosk app solutions across all the major business verticals from education, healthcare, retail, to finance. 

In this article, we are introducing a series on the entire lifecycle of how to plan, build, and manage your kiosk strategy. Let’s start with the basics. 

What is a Kiosk?

According to the Advanced Kiosks website:

A kiosk is a self-service machine that empowers users to complete tasks at their convenience and pace.

What a kiosk brings to the table is a fully immersive and interactive experience. Self-service keeps the users’ interest and they absorb the information being conveyed.

A well-designed digital kiosk experience offers a wealth of customized information tailored to a particular customer. All of this results in happier customers and higher sales for organizations that incorporate kiosks into their environments. Here are some prime examples of places where you may have seen these devices in the past few days.

  • Healthcare – Appointment check-in, paying for prescriptions
  • Restaurants – Food ordering or take out orders
  • Transportation – Flight check-in, seat selection, baggage payment
  • Parking – Paying for parking whether on street or in garage
  • Lockers – Picking up merchandise from a delivery service such as Amazon or FedEx or UPS

Having a kiosk is one thing, making sure that it provides your customers with an outstanding user experience is another. Here are some key pointers to keep in mind to ensure that your kiosk strategy is meeting and exceeding the needs of your target audience.

4 Keys Features to Define Your Kiosk Experience

At the highest level, the entire kiosk experience consists of the following elements.

Choose Appropriate Kiosk Hardware

Ideally, your kiosk hardware will be a touch-enabled display in a branded and aesthetically pleasing exterior casing. It will be something that attracts customers to interact and engage with your brand, product, or service. The industrial and mechanical designs along with hardware specs need to meet the requirements for the deployment environment (sunlight, moisture, ambient noise, etc.).  Kiosk hardware can range from fully customized products like the ones you see at the entrance of malls, all the way to small tablets that are purchased off-the-shelf.

Build Dynamic Front-facing Kiosk Applications

This is the crux of the whole kiosk experience. The look and feel of the kiosk will be your primary revenue-generator. The better you design your application, the more powerful the customer experience will be. You could use a static application similar to an informational map for a mall, or make the app dynamic similar to a 24/7 supermarket setting where you could display coupons for diapers from 9 PM to 4 AM, and then switch to advertising coffee from 4 AM to 10 AM. Your creativity can be unlimited!

The point here is to choose a robust client software platform that enables a wide range of applications and Android is ideal for this function. This dynamism leads directly to the next point.

Working on Highly Reliable Operating System (OS) & Hardware

Kiosks are meant to run continuously for days and in many cases for months on end. This means that any downtime due to the kiosk hardware or OS issues will result in a direct monetary loss. High-quality hardware implies high reliability across the board which also comes with security, manageability, and plenty of tools and resources to support the user’s needs. 

Reliable Connectivity to a Solid Backend

To best control the user experience, especially a dynamic one, you need a solid line of communication to the kiosk backend. A well-designed backend allows you to change the behavior of your app on the fly—per region, per kiosk, per the time of the day, or a combination of all of these. 

Kiosk Strategy at a Glance

Android Kiosk

“This is where Esper Device Cloud comes in. Esper gives you control of the infrastructure, so you can manage your device fleet without the hassle of worrying about provisioning issues. Now, you can drop-ship your kiosks to their destination and simply power them on and your tailor-made experience lights up on the kiosk!”

Some Takeaways

  • Convenience, speed, and low overhead are primary reasons why having a kiosk will set your business apart in a crowded market.
  • Developing an elegant and user-friendly kiosk strategy is an important step today for service-oriented industries that wish to maximize their revenue and make it easier for customers to interact with them. 
  • At Esper, we’re riding this wave of interest in kiosks and very invested in changing the way enterprises build and deploy their applications on these devices. 
  • Esper can help guide and advise your kiosk strategy with our rich set of APIs, SDKs, and tools with an intuitive web-based console. 

Finally, the global adoption of interactive kiosks will continue to experience significant growth, achieving a rate of more than US$32 Billion by 2024 (at a CAGR of 5% in the given forecast period). So, if you are looking for a robust and holistic kiosk strategy, get in touch with our experts.

PS: The next article in this series: How to Build Android Apps to Run in Kiosk Mode. See you on the other side!

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