February 5, 2020

Modern Point of Sale Kiosks Will Require Automated Digital BSS

In order to provide an optimal digital customer experience, customer management and payment functionality must function seamlessly and efficiently in the background

The mass adoption of automated point of sale kiosks only began in 2019, as many large fast food restaurant chains, retail stores and shopping malls started installing these devices to accelerate the service ordering process. The first wave of kiosks that were installed in retail premises were often merely a PC and a touch screen in some sort of tower running the company’s web sales portal. Often times, these didn’t include a contactless RFID payment terminal. However, the automated kiosks we are seeing now are far more sophisticated, designed to decrease the friction in any purchase process. That means, behind the scenes, customer management and payment functionality designed to fulfill the transactions taking place at the kiosk are available provide the optimal customer experience. Here we look at how enterprises are adopting powerful, modern BSS solutions to empower digital kiosks.

Customer Experience (CX) centric BSS is central to consumer adoption

A point of sale kiosk’s sales process must be designed with an appealing interface for consumers to want to use them repeatedly. These characteristics must also be in place from the first user experience. Bad CX in the first instance can lead to a large percentage of consumers avoiding this channel in the future, thereby threatening the whole strategy and associated investment.

To create these flawless customer experiences, CSPs need to consider these four elements needed in POS software:

1. Speed and Performance

Many digital kiosks are standalone computers that hold much of the data used while visualizing products and services, processing a predetermined choice from the customer user interface. This means that compute speed as it appears on the screen is not a problem. However, almost all of these are connected devices as well, communicating with centralized cloud-based software, which of course has an associated round-trip time for the data. Edge computing plays an essential role here in placing any mission-critical data storage and additional compute power as geographically close to the end terminal as possible to minimize ‘screen freeze.’ A BSS built from the ground up with cloud deployment in mind is equally essential in these scenarios.

2. Complexity

On the surface, transactions performed at a digital kiosk may not appear to be highly complex, but product and service bundles (especially in telco retail environments) can in fact have many thousands of permutations. A centralized product and service catalog strategy is needed in this instance to efficiently and automatically build bundles and apply appropriate offers. Predefined business rules should be set in place by the enterprise, including automated QoS checks into the revenue management and product management functions.

3. Value chain partner awareness

A kiosk owned by an entity such as a sports stadium may only be able sell third-party products from its retail partners. In this case, the system needs to perform clusters of customer and partner management transactions to fulfill orders in real-time. This has been a recurrent problem in many industry verticals, and we are only seeing this flavor of digital kiosk emerge now thanks to software challenges being superseded by cloud-based, automated BSS with advanced analytics capabilities. A modular BSS/OSS architecture is essential in situations like this, as much work has been done on standardizing APIs across the software industry. Multivendor APIs are simply less efficient than a solution built from pre-integrated software modules developed on a common software foundation.

4. Personalization

CSPs are increasingly pairing customer movement data with spending habits and using this data with their retail partners to provide timely interaction opportunities. As such, if digital kiosks are aware of the user profile of the individual customer, they can provide an entirely new, more personalized service. Since a huge range of BSS, OSS and network software is used to perform these tasks, the arrival of 5G and more individualized services will only expand how the digital customer experience extends from our smartphones and tablets into a seamless interaction at a digital kiosk.

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