Jim’s pulled the night shift in the ER this week. He looks up through blurry eyes to see the clock strike 6 a.m. signaling his time to wrap up and head home. Jim says his goodbyes, grabs his gear from the staff locker room and heads out towards the employee parking lot. On his way through the lobby, he stops to grab a quick snack, taps his phone on the vending machine and watches intently as his energy bar makes its way to the delivery chute. Out of the corner of his eye he notices a new self-serve payment kiosk amongst all the others. Seems the hospital foundation figured out a quick way to grab a few much-needed donations. He’s intrigued and impressed as another phone tap sends $20 towards the purchase of a new MRI machine.
Turning the ignition in his car reveals a lack of air in one of the tires, which means a brief stop at the gas station around the corner. He taps the payment device on the tire inflator, the air pump starts working immediately, and the tire pumping job is done in mere minutes. Jim looks at his car and decides to get some of the nasty road grime off of it at the nearest self-serve carwash. He selects a shortest cycle on the Tap & Wash device, taps his card and washes the car.
Finally arriving at his condo complex, Jim grabs his ripe bag of gear and heads directly to the laundry room on the second floor. He loves the mobile payment app he can use to pay for washes. He deposits his filthy scrubs in the machine, taps the device on the laundromat to pay with his phone and heads upstairs for a much-needed shower, a glass of milk to accompany his power bar, and a minimum eight hours of sleep.
Jim’s daily journey from work to home and his various interactions with unattended payment kiosk systems along the way are quick, convenient, and becoming the expected norm for consumers; particularly for young, progressive people like Jim who are time-pressed, tech savvy and safety conscious.
Innovative unattended payment solutions are available and in widespread used by companies and organizations in a variety of industries. Recent pandemic events have naturally heightened some people’s reluctance to engage in hand-to-hand contact. Unattended kiosks offer them an opportunity to shop, purchase, and pay without having to interact with others if they so choose.
From a business opportunity perspective, unattended payment kiosks enable more businesses to have the ability to offer their products or services on a 24/7/365 basis without having to hire as many staff to manage stores. The owner or manager of the unattended kiosk business simply needs to remotely monitor the payment kiosks and deal with the occasional customer inquiry. Even this activity can be outsourced cost-effectively in many instances.
Below are some of the different and unique applications that businesses, like yours, are using for leveraging payment kiosks.
Unattended payment kiosks in retail stores can effectively act as an extra sales associate when a store is particularly busy or for those shoppers who simply prefer a self-serve, in-store shopping experience.
Consumers can interact with kiosks to look up products or pricing, grab coupons, scan items, make purchases via a tap-to-pay system, or request help with an item or issue from a roaming customer service person. We are all familiar with self-serve checkout systems in grocery stores and big box stores. Similar solutions are popping up in other retail settings. Kiosks effectively bring the online experience in store, all the while interacting with and updating the same POS and inventory systems, so that product and pricing data is kept up to date and accurate.
Gas Stations and Carwashes
Unattended kiosk terminals are solutions at gas stations to offer self-serve tire inflation pumps, vehicle vacuum machines and automated carwashes.
Vehicle owners can take full control of when and how much they spend via mobile apps synced with kiosks. Payment kiosks that are often used to complement traditional cash and coin options can accept all forms of digital payment including debit or credit cards and payments made via apps such as Google Pay, Apple Pay, or Android Pay on mobile devices. Furthermore, customers can keep track of their history or sign up for value-added loyalty programs to keep them coming back and spending more often. Studies have shown that car wash systems offering a tap to pay option can see an increase in revenue of up to 20%, simply due to the fact that it is easier to tap and pay rather than have to continue feeding coins into a machine.
Station and car wash operators can rest assured that unattended payment terminals are tamper proof and built rugged to withstand the harshest of weather conditions. Further, when there is less cash and coins to count, there is less room for human error and the potential for theft.
Unattended terminals can be controlled remotely, including the ability to adjust car wash pricing, as needed. All transactions are stored in the cloud and business data is available in real-time via web-based dashboards and reports. Business owners can quickly analyze trends and make decisions to positively affect revenues or save money.
Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations
Electric vehicle owners are pretty much, by definition, tech savvy and expect most of their life interactions to be digitally oriented. Networks of connected EV chargers and unattended payment kiosk systems enable them to have convenient, self-serve access to power whenever they need it. Quite often vehicles are being charged in off-hours and there is really no need for any constant human monitoring. Tap to pay systems enable immediate purchases via phone or card. All transaction history and loyalty reward stats are easily accessible via mobile apps.
For business owners and managers, cloud connectivity means they can centrally control and monitor remote payment kiosk systems to better understand their supply, demand and revenue opportunities.
Laundromats, like car washes, are evolving from cash and coin into digital payment businesses upon the demand of their customers seeking convenience and flexibility. Laundry payment kiosks can be found in stand-alone laundromats and multi-family apartment and condo complexes. Customers have the opportunity to download apps, pre-pay for wash and dry services via a reloadable laundry card, tap to pay for individual sessions via phone app, debit card or credit card, keep track of their on-going laundry expenses and even monitor or receive alerts on machine availability. All of these conveniences and incentives add up to happy repeat customers and growing revenues.
Unattended payment terminal can be quickly added as a complement, rather than a replacement for cash and coins, for those customers who still prefer the latter.
One of the earliest adopters and most familiar types of unattended payment kiosks are the ones found in many public parking lots and garages. These devices enable customers a hassle and touch-free way to choose their length of stay or price, and pay for their parking spot with or without a parking receipt either upon arrival or when they exit the lot. Customers appreciate the opportunity to control how much they pay and the flexibility to pay with a variety of methods depending on which is most readily available to them including cash, debit/credit cards, mobile pay solutions, and parking apps.
Parking lot operators can remotely monitor their units and adjust parking rates as they see fit, as well as quickly determine traffic and space availability. Regularly scheduled daily, weekly or monthly business reporting can be done anywhere via the web as all transaction data is stored centrally.
Fast Food Restaurants
We’ve all had to endure standing in long lineups at our favourite fast-food establishments, particularly during the most hectic lunch and dinner rushes. However, more and more restaurants are looking to unattended payment kiosks as a way of alleviating some of the pressure from their counter staff and enabling them to perform other customer facing or cooking duties during rush hours. And, in turn, they’ve been able to attract new repeat customers who appreciate the ability to self-serve, avoid lines and have the option to pay in a variety of ways.
Tillster research from 2019 indicated “25% of restaurant customers have used a self-ordering kiosk at a restaurant within the past three months—up 7% year-over-year. Further, more than 65% of customers said they would visit a restaurant more often if self-service kiosks were offered, and 30% of customers prefer to order from a kiosk versus a cashier if the lines were of equal length.”
Kiosks enable customers to more readily custom-build their food and beverage orders and take advantage of bundled discounts. Some have indicated tapping a menu on a kiosk is far easier and less guilt-inducing than reading an order out loud, thereby increasing order size and frequency.
Restaurant operators, for their part, are able to more actively and intelligently manage their data-driven kiosk menus including extending lucrative upsell and cross-sell offers to generate more revenue.
One of the most innovative applications of an unattended payment kiosk is for the purpose of collecting charitable donations. The global pandemic has had a devastating effect on charities’ abilities to fundraise. Wall, stand or fully branded kiosks with simple tap to pay functionality located in relevant, highly trafficked areas can be a huge source of quick, impulse-driven donations from passers-by. Donors no longer need to search their pockets for cash or change as they can just choose their desired donation, tap their card or phone and extend their financial support. Further, kiosks provide an opportunity for charitable organizations to build brand awareness through an interactive, information-based interface, thereby further increasing their fundraising potential.
There have already been many benefits of payment kiosk systems realized by consumers and a broad range of business owners from a convenience, flexibility, control, branding, revenue generation and reporting perspective. Kiosks are proven to be a highly effective means to augmenting or supplanting existing payment systems and processes. Now, as our predominantly cashless world continues to evolve, there will no doubt be another payment kiosk evolution as forward-thinking businesspeople listen and react to the growing needs of their customers.
Do you think your business or organization could benefit from an unattended payment kiosk system? MONEXgroup payment experts have worked with a wide variety of leading companies and public groups to develop unique and effective ways to enable their customers to complete purchase transactions. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff are ready, willing and able to address any specific requirements you may have. Contact us anytime to discuss how unattended payment terminals can fit into your business growth plans.