2011.33 | Self Service Implementations

I’ve been traveling through North America over recent weeks, and saw some self service solutions out in the world that were worth sharing.

Toronto Airport Printing Kiosks provided by ePrintit:   Saw these kiosks on a recent trip from YYZ to YUL.  The picture is blurry as I was walking by it early in the morning.  The idea is that busy travelers can print documents via USB or email.  I’ve not had an opportunity to use it, but it seems a robust enough solution.  The solution appears to be brand-able by the owner of the location, and this one was branded by the airport in Toronto.  My main reservation would be how much  anyone really needs to print anything anymore in the age of mobile boarding passes, hotel reservations that are numbers and even RFPs that are increasingly requested via electronic copy.   I may not be the market they are looking for.

New York Lottery Instant Ticket Dispensing Machine –  installed in a rest stop along the New York Thruway.  The part of the solution that surprised me was the lack of any age verification beyond an attendant in the store.  I guess they could police it, but if the area became busy, it would be possible for minors to buy scratch tickets.  I’ve not seen these solutions anywhere in Canada, where we don’t allow cigarette machines, and I know provincial lotteries are vigilant about under age gambling making the lack of presence unsurprising.

Frankly, given the number of times I’m waiting behind people purchasing lottery tickets, I would welcome them to speed up the lines in stores as long as there was an age verification mechanism involved.

Pilot Travel Center One Stop Kiosk – installed at a Pilot site in Georgia off I-75.  This service is for commercial truck drivers, and catered specifically to their needs including special offers and details on loyalty cards as well as the ability to print receipts.  The most unique thing on it was the ability for truck drivers to order a shower.  The kiosk assigns the user a shower and provides a code that will unlock the facility assigned to them. The user can enter the code at the door and they are allowed entry.  There was also an internally focused kiosk for Pilot Center employees in the store as well.  This is a unique implementation in my experience!

Polynesian Resort – Walt Disney World – Captain Cooke’s Quick Service Restaurant Self Ordering Kiosk – While making a required WDW pilgrimage, I used these kiosks a number of times.  The kiosks are part of a hybrid self service/assisted service model.  Customers enter their main meal orders on the kiosks, and a ticket with barcode and transaction number is printed.  Customers then visit the assisted point of service and present their ticket.  The attendant looks up the suspended order on the kiosks and it is brought up on the assisted service terminal.  While the solution isn’t fully streamlined; providing an end to end ordering and tendering solution, it makes sense in this unique environment.  WDW has a dining plan with myriad rules that would make tendering via self-service a very challenging task for the uninitiated.   I also visited the Grand Floridian, which did not have this system, and this kiosk ordering system seems to work much better than having to interrupt the kitchen staff with orders.  Overall, a useful solution, once you got used to it.  Given that this facility is open 24 hours, it also seemed to have terrific uptime as all units were always running when I was there.

Coca-cola vending machine with large format LCD touch screen – installed at Epcot @ WDW, these units had full motion video on top and bottom and full size images of the product for sale inside them.  These units were much more visually appealing than the usual soda vending machines.   On the upside, the potential for branding and messaging are endless.  With a touchscreen , interactive opportunitiesabound for marketing types.  With connectivity, it should also be always possible to provide electronic payment, leverage remote updates on inventory to minimize truck rolls to restock, and to get real time updates on the sales by beverage.  The units are probably more expensive than current units, given the hardware involved, and probably leverage more electricity.  Unfortunately I didn’t buy anything from it to see how it worked, as I drank my fill of free sugary beverages from seven countries around the world right next to it for free.Plumreward iPad Solution – installed at my local Boston Pizza at the point of sale is an iPad in an enclosure.  This solution is linked with Plumreward – not to be confused with Plumrewards for all of you Canadians. It allows users to leverage offers across various retailers.  Interestingly, the iPad looks so small in this environment that I originally mistook it for a digital picture frame.  My concern is that it is so small it might be overlooked by customers.  This is an interesting implementation – similar to email marketing implementations I’ve seen before, but not as comprehensive as solutions provided by others.
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