Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Missing Kiosk

Ok… so if you know me or have read Electronic Art’s blog very much, you know that I have a strange obsession with the kiosk in my local Biggs (Biggs is a grocery store chain – for those of you who don’t live in the ‘Nati). It had this great, robust application with a recipe finder, wealths of information on health issues, recommended diets – things like that. I saw it and was instantly in love with it in a ‘what a great idea!’ kind of way.

So, I wrangled Paulie b. (my husband – for those of you who may be first-time readers) into grocery shopping with me on Sunday, and I was all excited as I rounded the corner by the dairy case – finally, Paul would get to experience the wonder of my new favorite … what the? IT WAS GONE! What happened to my kiosk?? Could it be that this understated work of convenience genius was so neglected that they just unplugged it and shipped it away? So I started thinking about the overall success of kiosks like that one – what would make such a great concept not so successful at market? Is there something more we should be doing to let people know that these kiosks are in place for THEIR use – something to more openly invite one and all to interact? Could signage be the answer? Custom enclosures? It’s certainly food for thought on future kiosk projects – the success of it will have to start before the hardware or the application behind the hardware – it will have to make people feel comfortable and willing to interact. Most of us have grown up in times that taught us ‘if it looks expensive, it is – don’t touch it , you might break it,’ so the challenge in front of us is to break those deeply ingrained habits.

One Response to Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Missing Kiosk

  1. Yeah, I’ve seen so many kiosks implemented that are hidden in a retail store, or the retail staff don’t give it much love. I’ve walked into a Biggs store before and saw a deli kiosk at the front (great) with a cleaning rag draped over it and a flower pot sitting on the base (from a nearby flower display). It screamed “don’t touch me, yuck” or “not really important… move along”. A kiosk is more than the hardware and software, it encompasses the whole area around it, signage and lighting included. Success is improved by paying attention to the details and promoting the use of self service to your customers.