Insights

3 Ways Automated Kiosks Help Retailers Amid Labor Shortages

By Aila Staff

January 25, 2022

Labor shortages continue to be a major concern for retailers heading into 2022. In an effort to help deal with these challenges, retailers are stepping up efforts to automate a range of essential tasks that historically have been handled by staff with automated kiosks.

Automated kiosks enable retailers to provide a wide range of customer-facing experiences to serve themselves including, ordering, price checking, returns, membership sign-ups, and checkout. Tablet-based kiosks, in particular, have risen in popularity as retailers seek more compact yet durable and affordable kiosk hardware platforms than traditional kiosks.

Here are three critical ways automated kiosks are helping offset labor shortages for retailers: 

1. Offsets labor shortages by providing self-service options

Today’s automated kiosks are helping retailers deliver the speed and convenience customers expect by enabling them to serve themselves.  Self-service kiosks automate a range of tasks and empower customers with similar experiences of online shopping but in-store. They can also offer personalized recommendations and help guide more sales by delivering a superior customer experience. Customers simply approach the kiosk to complete their transactions, typically in seconds, without staff assistance. 

Tablet-based kiosks like Aila’s Interactive Kiosk can be configured to fit a range of different spaces in both larger and smaller format stores. Retailers can then deploy the kiosks and staff in strategic areas throughout the store to help where it’s needed most, giving customers the best chance of quickly finding and accessing the most convenient option for them. What’s more, unlike traditional kiosks that are big and bulky, Aila’s Interactive Kiosks are easy to relocate or be reused in another location or store. 

Aila's self-service kiosk helps retailers

2. Automates low-level tasks, freeing up staff to focus on higher-value services

Retailers like Big LotsFabletics, and grocers like Ahold and ShopRite all rely on self-service kiosks to play a critical role in automating a range of tasks that free up staff to focus on higher-value services. Self-service kiosks give retailers a path forward to offset staffing shortages by replacing many rote processes that frustrate both staff and customers with fast and convenient ways to shop. Rather than saddling limited staff with additional tasks, kiosks automate time-consuming tasks allowing retailers to provide higher-value services and actually connecting with their customers in more meaningful ways like getting personalized recommendations,  expert product advice, and more one-on-one customer service help. 

According to Gautham Vadakkepatt, director of the Center for Retail Transformation at the George Mason University School of Business, “Companies are getting smarter to that and saying given the new environment we’re operating in, let’s do this with automation and use our talented workforce in a context that actually adds value to the company.”

Nowhere is this more noticeable than across large retail pharmacies with overworked pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. Having to juggle multiple time-consuming tasks that include balancing a range of duties outside of verifying and filling prescriptions can easily consume 20% of their time. Self-service kiosks can cut this time in half by serving as a patient-facing hub to streamline Rx pickup and vaccine check-in to shopping for OTC and self-checkout tasks. By offering these services through automated kiosks, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can reclaim precious time, leading to bottom-line savings and better customer service. 

3. Improves customer experience

73% of retail customers prefer self-service kiosks over speaking to an associate, and that number only continues to rise, especially with younger, digitally-savvy shoppers. 

Regardless of age and digital savvy, no shopper likes waiting in long lines. As retailers already know, long lines and wait times negatively impact customer satisfaction and revenue. For instance, the estimated cost of lost sales due to frustrated customers leaving stores because of long wait times is $ 38 Billion.

Automated kiosks like Aila’s interactive kiosks provide powerful integrated scanning technology allowing customers to intuitively scan items for a wide range of experiences including:

  • Check prices
  • Returns
  • Get product information
  • Locate products
  • Access membership rewards
  • Check themselves out

And all of these experiences can be performed at the same kiosk. From quick-service restaurants to hospitality, more and more brands are looking to shorten lines and process more customer transactions with automated kiosks.  

Scanning features can also take the place of taps and clicks, enabling a truly touchless experience for both staff and customers. Contactless experiences reduce the need for constant wipedowns and with Aila’s powerful scanning capabilities, scanning mobile devices, IDs, products and more.

 

Plus, there’s a lot more to scan than just 1D barcodes in today’s data-rich world. With the support of over 45 1D/2D symbologies, retailers can capture the data they need with speed and ease. LabCorp for example reduced lines and wait times for their patients across thousands of their offices by deploying Aila’s Interactive Kiosk as their digital front door. Instead of paper forms, patients quickly scan their mobile phones, IDs, and insurance cards for a prompt check-in, avoiding lines at the front desk while reducing patient wait times and saving hours of manual data entry for staff. 

To find out how Aila’s Interactive Kiosk can help your enterprise offset labor shortages while improving customer services, contact us.

 

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