The Best Kiosks Share These 5 Traits

The steady march of progress has generated self-service solutions that impact nearly all aspects of our life. Most of us have used a self-service station for getting cash from banks, paying for our groceries, and checking in for our flight. Each of these activities, when not handled through self-service, are completely different in terms of customer expectations and business logistics. Neatly nestled among these seemingly incongruent problems is a technological achievement worthy of your admiration. The most effective kiosks have found harmony in engineering, art, and pragmatism. Naturally, this presents the question of what precisely defines a great kiosk.

1. Fair Total cost of Ownership

Besides the rugged good looks of a kiosk, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. The upfront cost of a kiosk can be misleading once you consider all the technology crammed into the box. Whether you are considering a sleek new kiosk or a purely utilitarian water bill payment solution, you must consider the user-serviceable parts. You must consider the longevity and availability of replacement parts before you sign off on anything. In this industry, long lead times and excessive replacement parts costs can rapidly eat into your bottom line. The best kiosks are those that use quality parts and partner with reliable companies who have professional engineering teams ready to solve your problems.

2. Easy to Maintain

Not all designs lend themselves to exceptional serviceability as anyone who has attempted to repair a late model iPhone or Nexus phone can attest to. If something as simple as changing a roll of paper takes minutes to complete, you are strolling down a very expensive path. A good rule of thumb is to make sure all serviceable parts are easily accessible. This includes:

Power supplies

Communication harnesses


Cooling fans

Bill validators

Thermal printers

If any of these components are impossible or extremely difficult to replace, the kiosk is not as good as it should be. The best kiosks are designed by professionals who understand each phase of your project. From conceptualization to deployment, through maintenance, these teams have to know the most effective way to package your solution.

3. Intuitive

It is obvious that a highly-usable kiosk is preferable to unusable dumpster-fire of a kiosk. However, what about the case where having no kiosk is better than having an unusable kiosk? People absolutely do not like being made to feel stupid and will typically go to great lengths to avoid it. This may include choosing a traditional, non-self-checkout option if available. A great way to make people feel stupid is through poorly designed software. If you are testing a kiosk for adoption, it is imperative that you perform due diligence and perform real-world user testing to ensure your customers can navigate the kiosk.

4. Customizable

Your business is growing because you are doing one or more things slightly better than your competitors. This means that you do things differently and so should your kiosk solution. The best kiosks are highly configurable and can be adapted to your exact requirements. This might be as simple as branding or as complex as integrating into the rest of your infrastructure. Good kiosk software facilitates your vision by giving you the tools you need. Good kiosk hardware bends to your will and great kiosk hardware is backed up by engineering teams ready to make your designs a reality.

5. Practical

The kiosk you choose should address your needs and refrain from superfluous functionality. That is to say, don’t buy into every gimmicky peripheral that can be attached to a kiosk just for the sake of having it. Remember Rules 1 and 2 in which the total cost of ownership and serviceability must be considered. These extra peripherals will cost you in the long run when they are due for service or replacement. We can’t stress enough how critical it is to understand which features are most practical for your customers. The best kiosks are operated by great businesses with keen insight into their respective markets.

There is no hard and fast rule for quantifying precise hardware and software that defines a good kiosk. However, we do know a great kiosk when we see one and so do your customers. Remember that a kiosk is a sum of all its parts, including the peripherals, that perform even the most mundane task.