In the age of online shopping, it might seem like the convenience and personalization efforts online retailers have created are dominating the market. Surprisingly brick-and-mortar stores still account for roughly 90% of all retail sales. These businesses still hold supremacy, but it is important that they make an effort to keep up with market trends. One of the fastest growing trends in retail, and a major factor in keeping brick-and-mortar stores in business is the use of interactive kiosks.
According to a report by Allied Market Research, the interactive kiosk industry was valued at $14.76 billion worldwide in 2018. The adoption of interactive kiosks by different market segments including retail, banking, and consumer experience has given this new form of customer service a great deal of momentum. The report projected that the industry would expand with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.7% from 2019 to 2026, reaching nearly $30b in total value. A similar report by Markets and Markets projects the industry to be valued at $32.8b by 2025, with North America seeing the greatest growth.
There are a few factors driving the explosive growth in this industry. Businesses are increasingly looking for ways to optimize their services, so they turn to automated systems to take care of the more menial tasks. Similarly, businesses are creating more ways to utilize these kiosks, providing more value to consumers and helping businesses personalize the customer experience. Public acceptance of interactive kiosks helps to drive industry growth as well, as more and more consumers use them.
Retailers and consumers benefit from interactive kiosks. Interactive kiosks help free up workers to focus on more labor-intensive tasks and create a more efficient workflow. They can also help increase sales by using smart analytics to improve their recommendations, and their 24/7 availability gives them access to customers at any time. Consumers get the benefit of a personalized customer experience that can help them find the items they like and get accurate referrals to items they might not have found on their own.
What COVID-19 has focused everyone on is that these touch-operated devices are health risks. How many people have touched these same buttons since the machine was last cleaned and what have they left behind, and how frequently are these machines being wiped down? There were several articles this past week that spoke to new developments in contactless drive-thrus and tap-to-pay credit card registers. Studies have shown that COVID-19 can live for a day on cardboard and for several days on hard surfaces. What else are people leaving behind when they order food using a fast food touch-activated kiosk?
With restaurants closed there has been a shift to delivery and last week we wrote about Starship Technologies and their AI robotic delivery system. Clearly more technologies like that are on the way. With an Agora Brands Group avatar, the customer will never have to touch the kiosk. People young and old will have little difficulty using an AI interactive kiosk because the avatar is there as a humanistic guide to help people easily get the service, purchases or support that they are seeking. The applicability of these technologies is limitless and businesses in many industries will be able to extend and upgrade their service platforms profitably without displacing their traditional workforces.
Agora Brands Group transforming this industry and the way humans interact with technology. Placing an Agora Brands Group avatar in an interactive kiosk can help businesses increase revenue and let customers connect with the brands they love. Employing face and voice recognition technology, Natural Language Processing (NLP), and smart analytics, an avatar creates an engaging customer experience by communicating in a natural way and referring customers to products they might like. Avatars remember customers by their face and voice, they can use analytical information to help deliver the best possible experience for every customer and Agora’s avatars are accessible 24/7 in 25 languages. The interactivity of avatars will bring a positive change to kiosks, and in an age where personalization is paramount, they will help raise business-to-customer interaction to a new level.