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Mar 5, 2021

In this special episode, COMMERCE NOW teams up with Kiosk Marketplace to discuss Self-Service Kiosks and how they are quickly becoming ubiquitous with museums and airports using them for years and McDonald’s successful push in the QSRs industry. Now add the convergence of consumer preference for self-service, COVID related avoidance of human to human interaction and retailers automating tasks to free staff for more involved duties and you have self-service kiosks truly hitting its stride. 

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LinkedIn Profiles-
Carl Von Sydow
Elliot Maras


Elliot Maras:                       00:16                     Welcome to Kiosks and the Self-Service Consumer Journey. I'm Elliot Maras, the editor of Kiosk Marketplace. Joining me today is Carl von Sydow, director of Self-Service for the Americas at Diebold Nixdorf. Self-Service Kiosks are quickly becoming ubiquitous while museums and airports have been using them for several years. In the last two years, McDonald's has made a big splash with kiosks in the QSR industry. Many other restaurants and retailers have since come on board. When you add the convergence of consumer preference for self-service, COVID related avoidance of human to human interaction and retailers automating tasks to free staff for more involved duties, self-service kiosks are truly hitting their stride. Retailers from a wide variety of industries are looking harder at self-service. Dave & Buster's for example, is using kiosks to power up playing cards and food ordering. IKEA uses kiosks in their bistros for food ordering and grocery retailers.

                                                                                The always open proverbial essential retailers are expanding food courts and leveraging kiosks in their food journeys. 2020 was a challenging year for everyone, but the kiosks have played a big role in meeting the need for safety. COVID-19 has heightened demand for self-service as a way to improve customer safety. While much of the technology that went into action had already been developed prior to COVID-19, the technology found new use as customers scrambled to improve their safety. The pace of kiosk introductions has never been faster than it is today, with no end in sight. All indications point to self-service kiosks playing a bigger role than ever going forward. Carl, why did we see an increase in kiosk journeys over the past year?

Carl von Sydow:                02:08                     Hi, Elliot. Nice to meet you and a very good introduction to the topic. You covered a lot of good areas there. And some of them you mentioned already is the answer to that question. We have had kiosks all over the place for quite a lot of years in airports and museums as we said, but what I feel right now is that the concept of a kiosk is merging with the traditional self-checkout solution that we have seen primarily within grocery retailers. But these two are now merging together, offering new, much more exciting combinations and form factors et cetera for self service. And then we have the drivers, like you mentioned, we have experienced the last 14 months with COVID, which has really pushed self-service to the front of a lot of retailers mind.

Elliot Maras:                       03:11                     Tell me why are new retailers in different industries looking more closely at self-service kiosks?

Carl von Sydow:                03:18                     Yeah. We have several examples, you mentioned two of them, Dave & Buster's, IKEA, we have several different grocery customers as well. The business model is not only self-checkouts anymore for traditional grocery retailer. They want to add more different customer journeys. It's all about addressing different customer journeys. We use that word quite often in our daily work. Nowadays, it starts with the customer journey and within a customer demography for a typical story, you can have several different subgroups and you need to identify what different subgroups do you have perhaps in your business and try to find the best customer journeys for that little subgroup to make them come to your store or restaurant or whatever it is more often than elsewhere.

                                                                                And the mix between kiosks and self-service and form factors offer this opportunity now in a completely different way than before. You mentioned IKEA. IKEA is adding so many different customer journeys now for self-service with kiosks, not only in the bistro, but elsewhere, there are a lot of exciting projects going on there. Just identify groups of customers and that customer journey and then find the right solution for them and then implement it. So it's somehow... It is driven by customer journey expectations, customer expect higher variety of customer journeys when they go to the store, but also by technology. We have the technology now to offer different customer journeys and form factors. So it's a combination I would say that drives a lot of retailers into this area now.

Elliot Maras:                       05:16                     Well, speaking of technology Carl, what new innovations do you see enhancing kiosks?

Carl von Sydow:                05:24                     Yeah. That's also very interesting question. A lot of... Since we start with the fact that we are sort of merging kiosks to tradition kiosks with some kind of self-service, self-checkout with perhaps payment, identifying products or ordering products on the screen, we are adding technologies like RFID for fashion retailers or reading different barcode types in a different way than before. Identifying the customer traditionally is done with loyalty cards or programs like that. But now we can also add, with the help of our mobile companies that has pushed face recognition into every man's telephone right now, mobile phones. So adding face recognition as a tool for verifying age, for age restricted item, that is a great enhancing of the kiosk/self-service solution because otherwise, age verification drives staff intervention and take... Increase the time of your customer journey. You want to eliminate all these pain points and if you can find technology that makes that customer journey easier and faster for the customer, it's also a great thing.

                                                                                Another area is for QSR ordering. Imagine that you are a mother and you have three kids and you go to your local or your preferred QSR restaurant. Instead of ordering the same and go through the whole order every time, with the different meals for the kids and all that, with face recognition connected to a loyalty program where we have approved that you can do this, you can have the kiosk identifying you as a customer, "Welcome back. Do you want to use the same order as you did last time?" And then we have the whole order for the family already there and you just press OK. A lot of these things is to make the customer journey faster. A lot of these things are coming strongly now.

Elliot Maras:                       07:39                     That's a lot of different technologies, that you're up to speed on. But tell me, what self-service innovations has your company introduced in the last year?

Carl von Sydow:                07:51                     Yeah, the pace of development for self-service have raised. I would say the last few years, but even more so the last 24 months, as I said, we have seen this merger between the traditional kiosk to self-service. And just recently, a few weeks ago, we launched our new completely new portfolio of self-service. Which range now from the traditional baskets to bag with grocery self-checkout, with everything that goes with it to a 32-inch kiosk-like-self-service station that you can dress exactly as you want. It could be a self checkout in a grocery store, food ordering kiosk, or you have all these different form factors in the same portfolio, same software platform, everything is run by the same technology. And we are also adding, apart from that modularity and flexibility, we have taken a step away. Traditionally kiosk and in moreso self-checkout have been pretty locked in when it comes to software and solution. You have to buy our software, if you buy our hardware, we have taken a step away from that. So we have a much more open approach now to our customers.

                                                                                We have different software strategies. You can go full on with all our software package or suites, you can go hardware only and you can also go the middle way, where we will offer some of these traditional functions as modules with APIs. So the customer can decide whatever form then they want to use themselves, and then we can help them. They don't need to develop all these self-service specific modules like produce recognition, age verification, security scales, cash management, all these are separate modules that we can offer our customers as a separate software module with APIs. So, that's a big shift from only a few years ago.

                                                                                We are selling self-checkouts in high numbers. We also know about frictionless shopping. Of course, that is a very interesting area. We are monitoring it. We are looking into it, but we don't have anything really in the pipeline right now because it's a little bit too early. As we see it, retailers are asking for a solution that works today... I mean technology is quite expensive to do with frictionless self-service. So just in short, those are some of the innovations that we have just recently launched. And we'll continue to launch new innovations this year.

Elliot Maras:                       10:49                     From a short-term perspective what customer verticals do you see expanding the most in self-serving?

Carl von Sydow:                10:58                     Our experience over the last six, 12 months, especially here in the U.S., there have been a little bit ahead of us in Europe, but right now we get a lot of interests from fashion retailers that is definitely growing and also convenience stores, C-stores. Again, coming back to the possibility with a little bit different form factors of self-checkouts or cell service stations than before, a traditional basket bags self-checkout doesn't fit in a small C-store environment. But now with kiosks/self-checkout in one, C-stores all of a sudden see this as a great opportunity for them. So we have a lot of C-stores customers looking for self-service in their small stores right now. So that's two very easy identifiable verticals that are looking at self-service much more than only two years ago.

Elliot Maras:                       12:04                     Well, tell me, Carl, what are your final thoughts today on the kiosk market?

Carl von Sydow:                12:10                     Again, I'm coming back to the customer journey. We try not to just sell technology or to show the customers, "Here, we have the products, which one do you want?" We try to go a little bit deeper and understanding what the customer need. Why do you need? Why do you see this need? What do you want to offer your customers? What customer journeys do you have? And we call all that store advisory service. So we go in and try to help the customer identify exactly what they need, the mix of self-service solutions that would fit their needs the best. And then come to the point here, you have different technology solutions that would fit your customer journey. So by identifying and working with the journeys, you will have a much better implementation of your solutions. And that will grow more and more. It's all about customer journey.

                                                                                It's not so much technology, first it's customer journeys. That is one big thing. And what I also expect to see on the kiosk market is even more alternatives of form factors of kiosks, outdoor kiosks, indoor kiosks and other features that we can add. The alternatives and options are limitless. More or less, the technology goes so fast, but yeah, those are a few things that I would expect to see on the kiosk market the next two years, perhaps?

Elliot Maras:                       13:47                     Carl, thank you. Thank you so much for your input. Clearly, this is an exciting time in the kiosk industry. This has been Kiosks and The Self-Service Consumer Journey. Thank you all for joining us.