Remember the first time you tried a kiosk? Maybe it was a little awkward to use.
While the first wave of kiosks were technology driven, today the priority is on customer convenience. Today’s kiosks are fast, intuitive, and helpful. This shift from a technical focus to a more user-friendly experience helps you, the Post, engage with customers, extend your product line, and reinforce your brand’s equity.
In general, we’re seeing postal kiosks fall into three categories:
- Kiosk in the post office
- Kiosk in external locations
- Kiosk led mini post office
Why Each Kiosk is Different
At Escher, we consider multiple factors when designing the kiosk architecture —hardware, software, user experience, even placement – to reflect each Post’s unique requirements.
After all, to attract sufficient customers to justify the investment, kiosk solutions needs to have an attractive visual appearance, with clear, easy-to-understand instructions, while ‘under the hood’ the software must offer visitors a compelling range of products and services.
Let’s look at three different implementations and see how Posts are using kiosks to strengthen their core business, while also attracting new customers.
#1 - Kiosks in Post Offices
Posts are now looking at self-service kiosks and induction units (SSKs) to provide customers with alternative ways to perform postal services away from the traditional counter. SSKs can be deployed in the post office lobby.
Consumer preferences for fast, convenience services has challenged Posts to offer more flexible services at multiple access points.
In response, Posts are deploying intuitive self-service kiosks to help consumers send parcels securely outside of standard office hours. Self-service kiosks help Posts accommodate changing consumer lifestyles, align with omni-channel strategies for evolving retail environments, and provide the technical flexibility to anticipate future needs.
For example, Canada Post’s Concept Store offers customers convenience, automation and self-service technologies when sending and receiving parcels. Each center, ranging from 2,000 to 7,000 square feet, offers 24/7 access, self-service kiosks, vending machines, a drive-thru for parcel pick-up, and a fitting room to try on online purchases.
Self-service capabilities appeal to time-pressed customers who don’t require full-counter assistance or are unable to visit the post office during work hours. Other self-service capabilities include integrated scales to calculate shipping fees, payments facilities for postal products, as well as label dispensers, barcode readers, and receipt printers.
#2 - Kiosks in External Locations
Sometimes it can be difficult to visit the post office between 9-5. And what happens if you need to send something at the weekend?
To accommodate this, Posts are making their services more accessible by installing kiosks in external locations, as well as shopping malls, schools, airports, and industrial parks.
External locations, provide a low cost extension while offering a range of ‘out of hours’ postal services.
Dealer post offices – the “shop within a shop” – are popular with customers as they’re located where they already shop and are open at more convenient times than many post offices.
Posts are increasing their footprint by implementing self-service kiosks and transaction-enabled devices to external locations where consumers can pick up/drop off parcels according to their own schedule, for example, on the way home from work.
#3 - Kiosks in Mini Post Offices
In recent years, banks have moved to a self-service model in some locastions that allows customers to perform a range of tasks at self-service kiosks without having to interact with staff.
Using a similar model to the banking industry, Posts are installing self-service kiosks (SSK) in locations that may not require a full-service counter experience.
Typically, these so-called ‘mini post offices’ allow consumers to use SSKs to send parcels and perform other parcel-related services.
Some of the key functions available at mini post office kiosks include:
- Postal acceptance of mails and parcels
- Postage labels printing
- Receipt printing
- Payment by cards, notes and coins
Future of Kiosks
In a relatively short time-period, kiosks have evolved from static information booths to sophisticated units with full interactive capabilities.
Kiosks help Posts migrate consumers from full-service counters to convenient self-service facilities, capitalize on the demand for eCommerce-generated parcel deliveries.
As a total solutions provider to the postal industry, Escher helps Posts strategically deploy self-service kiosks to achieve these objectives. Escher’s RiposteKiosk solution enables Posts to expand their services across a wide range of service points, operating systems, and devices to be where their customers wish to conduct business.