New research from SCI Group Inc. and Signifi Solutions Inc. found that investment in self-service technologies is "exploding" is Canada, where businesses are seeking safe distancing, touchless transactions and a simple, intuitive user experience for employees and customers during the pandemic.
Half of respondents said their organizations actually increased investment in kiosk technology prior to the pandemic, with three-in-10 saying their investment level has increased by more than 15% since 2019.
Both research sponsors are heavily involved in the self-service sector. SCI is a Canadian provider of end-to-end supply chain solutions for self-service technologies. It specializes in ATM installations and POS terminal repairs, among other services. Signifi Solutions provides smart vending, self-serve kiosks and automated retail solutions globally.
As part of their research, SCI and Signifi commissioned a survey with Angus Reid to explore actual and planned investments in kiosk technology among Canadian organizations, in several sectors, to identify key trends. It uncovered three significant insights:
- The pandemic propelled short-term kiosk investment;
- A focus on digital transformation will continue to drive long-term investment; and
- User satisfaction is the primary motivator for investing in kiosks, which include self-checkout terminals, interactive maps, vending machines and employee check-in devices.
The pandemic has been a clear impetus behind investments in self-service technology. Among those who say their investment has increased in the past 12 months, 61% identified the COVID-19 pandemic as a significant or moderate factor in their decision. For the healthcare sector, the primary application of kiosk technologies was for check-in purposes to help improve customer wait times.
"The pandemic drove more people to use kiosks, which increased their comfort level with the technology and is leading to even better user-centric design for the next generation of devices," said SCI technology vice president Peter Collier. "We expect that increasing user comfort with kiosks and ongoing design improvements by kiosk manufacturers will continue to drive adoption."
Digital transformation drives long-term investment
While the pandemic played a key role in increased interest and investment in the self-service space, there are no signs of this growth slowing down. Nearly half of Canadian businesses are already deploying self-service technologies, and another third plan to deploy kiosks or some form of self-service technology in the next 12 months.
Canadian businesses are including kiosk technology as part of their digital transformation strategies, with 77% of organizations stating kiosk technology to be important to their business in the next five years.
"There's a new appetite for automation and kiosk technologies, part of which may be attributed to the shift in user habits that has stemmed from the pandemic," said Signifi marketing vice president Jamie McDowell. "More and more Canadian consumers and employees seem to appreciate the simplicity and interactivity provided by kiosk technologies. Organizations are seeing this shift and including kiosk technology in their digital transformation plans."
User experience fuels investment
According to the study, the key business drivers for investing in kiosks are all about people, at least in the short term. The research found the primary motivator for businesses when investing in self-service technologies is customer and employee satisfaction, with 63% of businesses identifying this as a top driver. This was particularly noted in the retail industry, where 90% of respondents said one of the main benefits they're seeking from kiosks/self-technology is better customer flow.
To learn more about the adoption of kiosk technology in Canada, changes in spending, drivers and key outcomes of investment, download "The 2021 Canadian Kiosk Market Report" here.
This research was conducted online at the Angus Reid Forum among 102 business decision-makers for purchasing kiosks and self-service technology. The sample includes professionals in manufacturing, retail, transportation, healthcare, management consulting, property management and public sector fields. For comparison purposes only, a sample of this size would yield a margin of error of +/-9.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The research was conducted in English and French between May 27 and May 31.