This article was originally published in the 2023 Kiosk Marketplace Census. Purchase the report here.
Self-service technology isn’t new.
In fact, McDonald’s began testing ordering kiosks in the QSR space as far back as 2003, while ‘common user self-service’ or CUSS terminals rolled out to airports worldwide soon after.
What is new, however, is seeing kiosk programs expand into unique markets that are quickly recognizing the value self-service offers.
Now, instead of only encountering kiosks at their favorite fast-food restaurants and the airport, users are engaging with them at doctor’s offices, sports stadiums, dispensaries, and more.
In the next year, verticals like healthcare, specialized food service, cannabis, and the public sector will continue to adopt self-service kiosks as tools to streamline operations while still providing exceptional customer service.
It’s no secret businesses are struggling with labor shortages, and the healthcare industry is no exception. According to the AON 2022 Benefits Survey of Hospitals, organizations reported a 66 percent higher turnover in non-clinical positions over the last 12 months.
Many are turning to technology like self-service kiosks to fill the gap, giving patients control over their check-in experience and reallocating current staff to other tasks.
While enhancing patient check-in and easing the burden on limited reception staff is a main motivator behind employing kiosks, hospitals, clinics, and healthcare businesses are also utilizing self-service technology to address other pain points.
Telemedicine is one. Let’s Talk Interactive, a telehealth solutions provider, offers easy access to medical care through virtual visits on kiosks. Use case scenarios include settings that benefit from remote health services, like schools, jails, nursing homes, and more.
With kiosks filling a variety of needs in healthcare, expect to see continued growth of self-service technology in this field.
Quick service restaurants have been on the forefront of using self-service tools like kiosks and mobile apps for years. This easy adoption by big industry players paved the way for niche food service markets like venue concessions, food courts, and cafeterias.
They, too, realize that, like their QSR counterparts, there is opportunity to increase revenue and offer self-order capabilities with digital kiosks.
Now, we’re seeing successful self-ordering kiosk programs at large stadiums like the Jacksonville Jaguars TIAA Bank Field as well as public food courts and campus cafeterias that want to simplify ordering from multiple vendors or stations.
Whether it’s a large QSR brand or a university cafeteria, the pain points remain the same. And with self-service being a good solution to labor shortages, customer wait time, and incorrect orders, it’s clear why specialized verticals within the food industry have begun investing in the technology.
Currently, 21 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana, while nearly 40 permit medicinal use. As this number continues to grow with more states introducing legislation, dispensaries are popping up across the nation, opening to eager customers and long lines.
Years ago, when the idea of using self-ordering kiosks first arose to combat the problem of wait times, dispensary owners were hesitant to embrace the technology due to the cannabis industry’s unique inability to accept credit cards.
Over time, however, more dispensaries are utilizing self-service kiosks, often as the first stop in the ordering process for returning visitors. Like a mobile app, patrons can use the kiosk to place their initial order and then quickly pay at the check-out counter. This cuts down on a portion of the buying process, allowing budtenders to service guests who are new or have questions.
In addition, many shops have also found the technology useful as an informational guide for curious buyers who want to look up more information about a specific product or strain.
With rising popular opinion favoring cannabis legalization, the industry’s trajectory looks bright. As more dispensaries open in new states, expect to see self-service technology like kiosks servicing customers and making store operations more efficient.
Technology has been a game changer for major metropolitan cities. From digital signage and parking kiosks to security cameras, the public sector has embraced smart city solutions to make life easier for residents.
A key benefit of self-service technology is its ability to solve unique problems. When the City of Milwaukee needed a way for residents to purchase and renew parking passes and pay parking fines, they teamed with Comprise Technologies to offer a Smart Service kiosk at area police stations.
More and more, municipalities and city programs are offering convenience with kiosks. We see it with bill payment kiosks at libraries, courthouses, and other municipal buildings that allow citizens to pay overdue fines or utility bills. Prisons are investing in self-service for commissary purchases and healthcare appointments. Even parking kiosks have replaced coin meters throughout many major cities.
As the labor market continues to churn after COVID-19, the struggle to find qualified, reliable employees is an ongoing challenge, especially for the public sector. Self-service kiosks can fill this void, helping users control the process without relying on staff.
Self-service kiosks have proven advantageous to the healthcare, food service, cannabis, and public sectors, and will continue to show continued growth in these verticals. Moreover, because this technology can alleviate pain points across countless industries, expect to see the adoption of digital kiosks to grow exponentially over the next decade.