February 7, 2023

How to Meet Consumer Demand for Self-Service Experiences

How to Meet Consumer Demand for Self-Service Experiences

Image of Self-service hardware

Many businesses have discovered that enabling self-service solutions for simple tasks can result in faster, more efficient, and more streamlined processes. Today’s digital-first consumers have come to the same conclusion. Self-service options give consumers autonomy, allowing them to access information and complete routine tasks on their own. The self-service demand stems from consumers who want to take care of business themselves and get on their way more quickly.

Self-service demand continues to increase

The self-service trend is widespread. A 2022 IBM study found that 71 percent of consumers say they use or would like to use self-checkout. That same research found that 26 percent of consumers want a broader range of self-service options, including touchscreen monitors and self-checkout.

Predicted growth in this market indicates that competitive businesses are planning to invest in technology to meet the self-service demand. Mordor Intelligence reports that the self-service technology market, valued at $28.01 billion in 2020, will increase to $68.01 billion by the end of 2026, an impressive 16.43 percent CAGR. Merchants that fall behind their competitors in creating self-service experiences run the risk of losing customers to businesses that do.

Self-service technology across industries

The growing demand in the interactive and self-service kiosk market is driving new systems, processes, and customer engagements in a wide range of end-user businesses. Examples of self-service use cases include:

  • QSR customers order and pay independently.

    Analysts at LP Information, Inc. report that the competitive quick service restaurant (QSR) space is poised to grow from $13.880 billion in 2022 to $22.370 billion in 2029. These analysts explain that success is due, in part, to reinventing customer experiences with digital signage, new point of sale (POS) solutions, digital menus, mobile devices, and kiosks that help meet the self-service demand.

    Self-service demand is also growing. These solutions allow QSR restaurant operators to allocate labor from the front counter to other tasks. Restaurants can also see a bump in average orders. For example, McDonald’s saw average ticket size increase by 30 percent after deploying self-service kiosks, allowing customers to take their time, order everything they’d like, and respond to consistent upselling offers.

  • Hotel self-check-in is here to stay.

    Self-check-in is hands-down a better experience for weary travelers than waiting in line at a check-in desk. A kiosk can take guests through the entire process, from finding a reservation, confirming the payment method the guest will use, and having guests sign agreements to encoding a room key. Kiosks can also enable guests to upgrade their rooms and order services like airport limos or spa treatments.

    These benefits are driving significant self-service demand among hotel guests. Research by Travel Leaders Group found that about 78 percent of consumers want to see more self-check-in kiosks in hotels.

  • Self-service ticketing adoption is growing in transportation.

    The increasing demand for self-service ticketing and cashless transactions at railway, bus, and metro stations is fueling a 6.5 percent CAGR in the self-service ticket market from 2021 to 2030. Self-service ticketing eliminates the need for commuters to interact with an employee to purchase a ticket and some solutions allow travelers to change a ticket or get a refund.

    Self-service ticketing is also driven by the digital transformation of transportation services. Self-service ticket kiosks, combined with automated fare collection systems, decrease friction and help travelers board more quickly.

  • Interactive teller machines manage more banking tasks.

    Modern ATMs are interoperable with smartphones, a key feature as mobile banking adoption has increased. A Mobile Banking Competitive Edge Study found that 89 percent of survey respondents use mobile banking, with 97 percent of millennials using the service. When banks create consistent experiences across smartphones and ATMs, customers can use services more easily, resulting in greater customer satisfaction. It can also encourage more people to choose self-service options, freeing employees to focus on more complex customer service issues.

  • Retail brings the online experience in-store with self-service.

    McKinsey research has found that most U.S. consumers have incorporated omnichannel options, like buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS), into their regular shopping routines. Moreover, most Gen Z consumers don’t think of stores in terms of channels. They simply look for seamless, consistent experiences supported by retail technology however they choose to shop.

    Retail self-service allows merchants to bring some of the convenience, autonomy, and personalization of e-commerce to in-store shopping experiences. Consumers can use kiosks or interactive digital signage to check product availability, access product information, print coupons or claim discounts, or manage their loyalty rewards.

  • Self-service manages e-commerce returns.

    Self-service product returns can enhance e-commerce customer experiences. Consumers rank in-person returns as the top method for returning e-commerce orders, and, whether the item was the wrong size, didn’t match the description, or just didn’t meet their expectations, they want a hassle-free experience. Moreover, 67 percent of shoppers check the returns page on an e-commerce site before making a purchase.

    Return kiosks enable quick drop-offs for returns, issue digital receipts for proof of return, and can increase foot traffic in the store. A kiosk can also allow a customer to request an exchange, notifying a sales associate to meet the customer at the kiosk with a different item, which can help save the sale.

Self-service benefits across industries

Regardless of the type of business that deploys self-service solutions, all will share three common benefits:

  • Increased operational efficiency

    Directing customers to self-service kiosks can simplify an in-store operation. Rather than waiting in queues, shoppers can go directly to a kiosk. This layout can save floor space and create a better traffic flow. Additionally, self-service can allow employees to focus on higher-value tasks than taking orders and payments or searching for inventory availability or shipment status. As a result, customers have the self-service options they demand, and employees are more productive, providing businesses with more effective operations.

  • Reduced labor costs

    When a merchant deploys self-service solutions, the company has more control over how it allocates labor, particularly as minimum wages rise. While an investment in a self-service solution may require a capital expenditure, the return on investment (ROI) can be quick as the business optimizes its staff, minimizes overtime, and enhances customer experiences that lead to more loyalty and growing revenues.

    Each business will see different returns based on its current operation, staff, wages, and the self-service solution it selects. You can estimate savings by using an ROI calculator.

  • Reduced customer friction

    Self-service gives customers autonomy, allowing them to control experiences, interact at their own pace, and save time. According to a Raydiant study, 60 percent of consumers prefer self-checkouts to assistance from a store associate, and 85 percent perceive them to be faster.

How to Meet the Growing Self-Service Demand

Nearly all consumer-facing businesses can benefit from deploying self-service solutions for greater efficiency, cost-effective operations, and fast, convenient customer experiences. Whether the use case involves checking in at a hotel, purchasing tickets, ordering a meal in a quick service restaurant, banking, or giving shoppers more control over retail experiences, self-service solutions can help meet consumer demands for fast, convenient service.

Contact Elo to learn more about interactive self-service kiosks and solutions that will enable your business to meet the growing self-service demand.