In 2018, consumer retail spending in the United States totaled more than six trillion dollars—marking another year of retail sales growth. While numerous factors can be credited for contributing to the growth in sales, technological advances over the years that have made it easier than ever for consumers to make purchases.
Think about it—whether shopping from their desktop computer at home or work, their laptop in a coffee shop, or their phone while on the go, consumers can utilize technology to buy whatever they need, whenever they need it. However, despite the convenience and the fact that online retail sales are rapidly growing, only a small fraction—around 10%—of all retail sales are made through e-commerce sites. Hard to believe? It’s true, in 2017 nearly 90% of the 5 trillion dollars spent on retail were spent at traditional brick-and-mortar stores.
While it’s easy to see the benefits that easy-to-use and innovative technology provide consumers and online retailers, the majority of consumers still crave the in-store experience that allows them to pick up and see what they’re planning to buy, first-hand. From self-checkout, to endless aisle, and digital signage, retailers can utilize retail kiosks to continue to grow while bridging the gap between brick and mortar and e-commerce stores and offering consumers the best of both worlds—the technology that makes shopping faster and easier and the in-person experience they desire.
Here are three ways brick and mortar retailers are putting their retail kiosks to work.
The most prominent form of retail kiosk solutions, self-checkout kiosks, have been expediting the grocery shopping checkout process since the late 1990s. When shopping in-store, consumers are able to browse the aisles at their leisure and utilize the self-checkout kiosk to quickly check-out once they’ve gathered everything they need. Designed to accept a variety of different payment options—cash, credit, and debit cards—self-checkout kiosks allow shoppers to quickly scan, pay for, and bag their items without having to wait in long lines. Self-checkout kiosks also allow store associates, who would have previously been responsible for operating a cash register, to assist with customer service.
Traditionally, one key competitive advantage that online retailers hold over brick and mortar stores is an endless amount of space to display inventory. While brick and mortar retailers are confined to the space within the four walls that make up their store, online retailers can display as many different offerings as they want. Designed to enhance a brick and mortar retailer’s in-store offerings, endless aisle kiosks help to alleviate this imbalance. Shoppers can browse a retailer’s physical inventory while shopping in-store, but also use the endless aisle kiosk to explore additional colors, styles, sizes, and more on the retailer’s website. If they find something they like, shoppers can also use the endless aisle kiosk to select, pay for, and enter a shipping destination for their order. By enabling shoppers to browse and purchase additional options online, retailers are able to maintain lower inventory quantities and more in-store product variety.
Just as retailers use videos, images, and other engaging content to draw shoppers to their ecommerce platforms, digital signage enables them to do the same for their brick and mortar stores. Able to be strategically placed throughout the store or in a window display, digital signage can be either static or interactive, depending on the needs of the retailer. From a “how to” video, to a product demonstration, a brand story, or additional product information, digital signage can enhance a shopper’s in-store experience. Retailers can also use digital signage as an advertising platform—drawing shoppers in, highlighting complementary products, and creating continuity between the retailer’s in-store and online presences.
Despite the fact that e-commerce is continuing to grow, that growth is slow—largely due to the fact that consumers still value all that the in-store experience entails. Designed to both enhance the in-store experience and bridge the gap between brick and mortar and e-commerce stores, retailers of all kinds are putting retail kiosks to work.
To learn more about Meridian’s retail kiosk solutions, visit meridiankiosks.com/industries/retail-kiosks/.