Today you can order a cheeseburger, pay a doctor’s bill, and even renew your driver’s license without relying on another person’s assistance. Self-service technology has empowered patrons to take actions on their own, while businesses benefit from the enhanced customer service and added revenue these tools provide. And while forward-thinking businesses recognize interactive kiosks are an important investment, there are still many questions surrounding self-service kiosk costs and the factors that influence the price tag.
Because kiosks are as diverse as the industries they serve, it’s impossible to attach a specific cost to a one-size-fits-all model. However, there are ways to prepare for added expenses based on your specific needs. Here, we examine many of the factors that determine kiosk price.
Hardware Options and Kiosk Cost
From countertop and tablet units to large format floor kiosks, a typical price range for a standard self-service kiosk runs between $1,500 to $5,000.
Kiosks at the lower end of the price range are often used for basic tasks like wayfinding or check-in where, apart from the standard enclosure, touchscreen, and possible printer, extra hardware isn’t needed. A custom kiosk with more functionality will be more expensive because of the additional assets required.
While more hardware options increase the price, they also add value. Below are examples of hardware and devices that can affect the kiosk’s price tag.
ADA compliance is important when developing a kiosk program. While wheelchair accessibility is often the most common discussion point when considering design, assistive technology also supports individuals with hearing, sight, or other sensory disabilities.
This technology can add to the self-service kiosk cost. However, ADA devices not only protect your business from potential lawsuits, but more importantly, also ensure all individuals can interact independently with your kiosks.
“Defending any legal action is expensive, but losing is even more costly,” Nicky Shaw, US Operations Manager at Storm Interface, a developer and manufacturer of responsive human interface devices, says. “Non-compliance with ADA is difficult to defend as there are now accredited audible-tactile information navigation solutions that are effective and affordable.”
Payment Devices and Cash Recyclers
Self-service kiosks frequently have payment devices. While planning to implement a payment function adds to the cost, it’s a worthwhile investment when considering the efficiency it provides in allowing customers to complete an entire order process themselves.
Cash recyclers, or hardware that accepts cash and gives change, are less common, but equally as valuable to many industries. The 2019 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice reports that consumers use cash in 49 percent of transactions less than $10. For QSRs and fast casual restaurants as well as other industries that deal in smaller purchases, considering a cash recycler as part of the kiosk program could save time and energy requiring customers to pay at a counter.
Planning to invest in cash recyclers before rolling out a program is key. As David Anzia, Senior Vice President of Sales at Frank Mayer and Associates, Inc. wrote in an article entitled Cash acceptance and self-service kiosks in QSR and fast casual environments, “Retrofitting can be an expensive undertaking, which is why implementing cash acceptance off the bat is the better bet.”
He continues, “After kiosks are placed in the field, going back to add large cash acceptance hardware can pose problems for infrastructure, customer flow, and space allocations.”
Payment devices and cash recyclers are notable considerations when planning kiosk programs. It’s important for brands and retailers to recognize whether the reward will outweigh the investment.
Incorporating cameras into a kiosk is another option for businesses looking to offer customer convenience or a fun experience. Whether it’s a thermal camera on a temperature screening kiosk or sophisticated facial recognition technology with a high-definition camera like the latest project from Showtime Pictures, cameras can be a vital investment depending on your kiosk’s objectives.
Barcode Readers and Badge Scanners
When considering barcode readers and badge scanners, weigh the efficiency and time saved against requiring someone to manually enter a number or login on screen. A grocer or retailer could never ask customers to enter UPC barcodes when checking out, but even QSRs, dispensaries, or hotels benefit from offering easy access to a loyalty program with a quick scan of a card.
In addition, with COVID-19 still causing people to be hesitant to touch a screen, badge scanners and barcode readers can allow kiosks to be nearly, if not completely, contactless.
Beyond Kiosk Hardware
While hardware and devices contribute to kiosk cost, there are other factors to take into account when exploring options.
Software dictates how a program runs and is the driving force behind a successful kiosk program. Kiosk companies will have a slew of trusted software partners readily available when discussing your kiosk goals and needs. When partnering with a software company, key factors to consider are:
- Technical expertise
- Scope of services
- Level of customization required
- Communication strategy
- Presence in the market
Partnering with a company that has proven results based on industry standards and compliance factors will shape the cost for your program.
As we know, hardware components will differ based on kiosk program requirements. Each manufacturer offers a specific timeframe valid to troubleshoot mechanical issues and defects.
One way kiosk suppliers can assist in keeping track of component ID numbers and multiple warranty qualifications is through online portals that track hardware and expiration dates. Investing in a special service page for easy warranty look-up can save time and money down the road as retailers and installers can access warranty information as well as protocols without relying on customer service.
Because needs vary for every program, it’s impossible to nail down standard kiosk costs. However, considering the different hardware, software, and warranty options available will help businesses determine which components will be a smart investment by meeting their ultimate kiosk program objectives.