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Summit publishes '07 retail kiosk report
Summit Research Associates has released its 2007 Kiosk Industry Sector Report for Retail.
 
It is the first focused examination of the mammoth vertical, which the report says hosts about half of all kiosks, since 2004.
 
In the interim, said Summit president Francie Mendelsohn, the industry has grown rapidly. Her report predicts a growth of the kiosk industry in general, with the number of retail kiosks doubling by 2009.
 
Spurring the growth are new trends in the photo kiosk market, which makes up a significant percentage of the retail sector. Mendelsohn said that more stores are deploying multiple photo kiosks to cut down on user wait time, with the segment overall pushed by photo book and scrap-booking features.
 
Another segment to have taken off since the 2004 report is vending kiosks, which include self-service c-stores and the high-end Zoom Systems, which move electronics and healthcare products.
 
Although not a new concept, the importance of staff buy-in is a focus of the report. More than ever, the responsibility of having a successful retail kiosk is on the shoulders of the deployer rather than the manufacturer.
 
"You have to educate your staff and constantly train the new people on how to help customers use the kiosk," Mendelsohn said.
She believes a big reason why kiosks fail in stores is because the store employees don't know how to use them, and are therefore incapable of helping customers with the technology.
 
"The customer doesn't know whose fault it is if a kiosk doesn't work," said Mendelsohn, who also consults kiosk deployers. "Everybody—the manufacturer, the deployer, the employees—they all have to be on the same page. If people see the kiosk as a threat, it will fail."
 
Summit Research Associates releases several reports each year about the kiosk industry, as well as periodic sector reports. Prior to this retail report, Summit studied self-serve photo processing, in 2005.
 
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The retail report also has a case study section where Mendelsohn provides sometimes brutal evaluations of new kiosk technology. The 2007 retail report features critiques of redbox DVD dispensers, ZoomSystems' ProActiv stores and Subway self-ordering touchscreens.
 
She conducts the reviews personally, focusing on how an end-user would approach the machines. Sometimes, she says, the personal proximity adds discomfort to perspective.
 
"The hardest part of consulting on kiosks is having to tell clients that their baby is ugly," Mendelsohn said.
 
By the numbers:
 
123 – pages of survey results, case studies, professional analysis and resources in the Report
83 – photographs of the newest kiosks and software screen-shots
17 – Charts on kiosk performance, based on results from a worldwide survey of kiosk deployers
3 – photographs included in each case study featured
2 – hours of a Powerpoint workshop on the retail kiosk industry available at discount with the purchase of a Report.

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