The current kiosk business model is projected to run into difficulties for various reasons. Press products are increasingly affected by the digitalization of media (mobile phones, e-readers, iPads, etc); cigarettes are subjected to an increase in legislation, bans and taxation; candy and sugary drinks are harder purchases to justify in the larger trend towards a healthier life style; and, finally, gambling is increasingly moving online. However, the kiosk assets, such as competence in retailing press products and convenience foods, together with long-running leases of highest-value retail real-estate, make
the kiosks valuable. For these reasons, the Swiss retail company Valora began a search for the future role of kiosks in an increasingly digital world, both in terms of products on offer as well as services.
Valora practiced a four-pronged approach to open innovation which included a set of workshops with Valora and different industry partners (SAP, Siemens, Nokia) on the topic “kiosk of the future”, internal idea generation, a public crowd-sourcing project and a review of industry best-practices. In the open-innovation process, four main topics were identified:
- social media,
- convenience food,
- minimizing print media and
- the use of in-store technologies.
Given the nature of the collaboration between Valora and the Auto-ID labs, the team focused on further developing social media and in-store technologies. Pervasive applications, especially in combination with social networks were identified as a potentially
powerful combination. One direction taken was to show advertisements on digital signage, which provided the company with advertising revenue, intermixed with entertainment and information for customers (e.g. celebrity birthdays, horoscopes, weather, etc). Combining these two goals meant showing online social network activities for kiosk products on in-stores digital signage, thus bringing the digital and analog worlds together. A need for better understanding of the effects of placing such user-generated content on digital signage in stores resulted in the launch of the Facebook “Fan” page for the Valora private label ok.- and a related Twitter channel, and Valora took the decision to conduct the ETH-proposed field experiment where user-generated content (Facebook comments) would be shown in stores.