Point of decision (PoD) kiosks, also known as mini-kiosks, are emerging as the retail industry's solution to offering a superior in-store customer experience, according to a new analysis from Frost & Sullivan.
PoD Kiosks are the interactive self-service devices whose primary interface with the customer is via a touch screen or programmable buttons. They are either stand-alone or networked, have a screen size between 5" and 9", and have multimedia capabilities including moving pictures and sound. The analysis from Frost & Sullivan, entitled 'U.S. Point of Decision Kiosk Markets', reveals that this market generated revenue of US$36.4 million in 2004.
"In a climate of converging positioning strategies among retailers, the focus on in-store experience as a differentiator is being renewed. PoD kiosks are meeting the need for cheaper and smaller alternatives to the standard full-form factor kiosks," said Frost & Sullivan senior research analyst Vineeta Kommineni.
Item pricing laws
Furthermore, amendments to item pricing laws (IPL) are ushering in a wave of growth in this industry. Nine of the US states already have IPLs that require most items sold in a retail environment to have a price label attached to them in addition to price labels on shelves. In 2003, Massachusetts amended its IPL to exempt retailers who install at least one electronic scanner for every 5,000 square feet of store selling space.
According to Kommineni, this is now prompting retailers and supermarket associations in other states such as Michigan and California to appeal for similar changes. "In order to capitalise on their investments in price checkers, retailers are showing interest in PoD kiosks that enable customer-facing applications other than mere price verification. These include guided selling, loyalty programmes, and paging of sales associates for assistance," explained Kommineni.
But for PoD kiosks to succeed, the analysis concluded, they need do carry compelling content to motivate usage by customers. And for maximum impact, that content must be packaged into short sales messages designed specifically for the PoD kiosk. Kommineni asserts that the impact of full motion content at the point of decision needs to be reinforced.
Since this is an emerging market, content providers are yet to develop best practices for optimum message length, number of messages to be strung together, and so on. Issues of content control also abound. "While content management is expected to pose a strong challenge in the short term, it is likely to diminish considerably in the medium term once best practices for content creation and content ownership are developed and alliances between content production houses, retailers and PoD kiosk software vendors evolve," concluded Kommineni.
The U.S. Point of Decision Kiosk Markets analysis provides forecasts, key drivers, and restraints, and discusses the pricing and interchangeability of PoD kiosks and cart-mounted devices. It also assesses which retail segments are most likely to adopt PoD kiosks and provides a competitive analysis.