I'm sure like most people that are going to read this blog you're looking for a formula that will help you to deploy a successful kiosk project. Like most anyone else I'll tell you that a lot of up front planning is certainly going to help you. I've personally been involved with hundreds of different deployments over my 15 years in this industry and have seen great ideas and horrible ideas and have actually seen each have success and failures.
Failure, more than anything, seems very easy to describe because you can usually see it coming from a mile away. Typically, these projects are poorly managed and not really well thought out in advance. Often times, their RFP might look more like an RFI. Sort of the "tell me what you think is best" type of scenario. Don't get me wrong, after 15 years I know what might work best, but I'm not an expert on your business. I'm an expert in kiosk design and manufacturing, meaning I can tell you what style is going to work best in your store, but I can't guess what hardware you want inside your kiosk or what is going to work best without some meaningful input from you.
Often times, it seems our most valuable clients, who are also easiest to work with, are clients that have prior kiosk deployment experience. Like us, they've been there and done that and have seen it all. These people tend to know the pitfalls of kiosks in their businesses and want to avoid them at all costs. Often, we see these clients going with the top-of-the line hardware because they know what MTBF means. They also know what the true cost of an out-of-order machine is.
Look at companies like Macy's and Target who have run multiple generations of machines in their stores. Every time they go out for a new kiosk they're armed to the hilt with information for what they do and don't want. Just like any other business practice they get better at it over time.
One of my favorite deployments was for a Canadian Lottery. We did more than 1,000 machines in a very short time frame. The job was a blast because we got to sit down with technicians, who have been servicing their original kiosks for more than five years. These guys were amazing. They not only knew kiosk hardware, but they completely understood their business in a way I never could. They literally helped us design the kiosk from the inside out.
If you don't have experience with kiosks don't fret. This doesn't mean you're doomed to fail. It means you need to involve your thought leaders in the planning. All too often I see marketing departments making what I think should be I.T. decisions or vice versa. The best companies bring all their business leaders together and make joint decisions. Marketing, Store planning, I.T., Legal, and other entities should all be involved in these types of projects. Self-Service, being so new to many companies, has yet to form a strategy around deployments let alone a business unit whose sole purpose is self-service. So until that happens, try to recruit other folks within your organization to your team. And work with a company that is willing to walk you through the steps and help you to understand the pitfalls and how to avoid them.