Aug 20 | 4 min read

The 10-Second Trip to the Deli:  How Supermarkets Are Slicing Lines with Deli Kiosks

Deli kiosks improve the customer experience, boost productivity, and increase sales. Say goodbye to long lines at the deli counter.

Aila Staff

The future of grocery stores is the future of all retail—streamlined, convenient, and infused with digital. Grocery has, until recently, been seen as a late adopter of new technologies. 

Driven by digital natives like Instacart and Blue Apron, traditional brick-and-mortar grocers are taking steps toward improving their in-store experiences to keep up with the speed and convenience of online shopping.

When it comes to the grocery shopping experience, the deli counter is a key area where digital technology helps boost customer experience. For example, grocers can offset long checkout lines with self-checkout kiosks during peak times of the day.

Traditional deli ordering solutions were limited to antiquated ticketing systems, leaving long wait times and frustrated customers. Deli kiosks solve this problem with ease while also providing recommendations, store insights, and more.

The deli kiosk: how it works

Deli ordering kiosks are deceptively simple from a shopper’s perspective. Here’s how a typical customer experience might look:

  1. Place an order: A shopper visits a busy deli counter. Rather than waiting for an associate to take her order, she places the order from a self-service kiosk.
  2. Scan: On the kiosk, the shopper can scan her loyalty card or enter her phone number.
  3. Personalize: The shopper can see her recent orders, current promotions, or browse the full deli offerings. 
  4. Pickup: She completes her order and continues with her shopping. When the order is ready, she’ll receive a text message and stop back at the deli counter to pick up her order.

In just seconds, the customer places their order, receives personalized offers and/or recommendations and can continue shopping. This four-step process maximizes the value to the customer and the grocer in a number of ways.

Winning on in-store experience with deli kiosks

Skipping the line

Self-service kiosks have been shown to reduce wait times by 10 minutes or more.

Everyone knows long lines are an inconvenience in the grocery experience. One study found that 77% of shoppers were unsatisfied by the length of lines at their grocery store. Since most shoppers visit the grocery store outside of typical working hours, bottlenecks can form at high traffic areas of the store. Key areas for improvement are the deli counter and checkout. 

Shoppers also get the added benefit of a streamlined and personalized experience that keeps them coming back.

Personalized experiences

As in other sectors, grocery store technology should aim to deliver the most relevant, customized information to shoppers at each step of the buyer’s journey. 

When a shopper scans to sign into her loyalty account at the deli kiosk, she’s also making it easier to find her favorite items without having to browse the full deli offering. Learning algorithms can also use this information to determine which type of items a shopper might like to order next and then recommend these items on-screen.deli kiosks scanning

Further, integration with SMS for text message notifications or over store PA systems means that shoppers don’t have to guess when their order is ready, trimming even more time off of the trip. 

What’s in it for grocers?

From a grocer’s perspective, self-service kiosks at the deli deliver ROI across several key performance indicators.

Employee productivity

Life behind the deli counter can be chaotic. Employees have to juggle customer service with slicing, weighing, and bagging product. When lines start building up, associates are spread thin. 

That’s where deli order kiosks come in. By putting kiosks at the front of the store and in the deli area, shoppers can place their orders right when they walk in. This gives associates a chance to catch up and alleviates bottlenecks that can occur during peak operational hours.

Return on investment

ROI for deli kiosks comes in two forms: labor savings and increased sales. Deli associates spend a significant amount of time on customer service. By deploying deli kiosks, grocers can reduce staff, even during peak hours, thanks to offloading some of the customer-facing interactions to the kiosks. 

deli kiosks stop and shop ahold aila interactive kiosk

Further, deli kiosks can increase cart sizes. One study found that 49% of customers bought items they did not intend to buy due to a personalized recommendation. Recommendation engines are so ubiquitous in our digital lives that we receive product recommendations multiple times a day. YouTube, Spotify, and Netflix all utilize recommendations on their platforms to increase engagement and revenue. With a deli ordering kiosk, grocers can bring the power of recommendations into their brick-and-mortar stores. 


Self-service kiosk solutions come in all shapes, sizes, and price tags. Many grocers have found that legacy systems they implemented years ago for self-checkout are too expensive to maintain. They’re also unable to evolve with the demands of the modern consumer. Solutions like Aila’s Interactive Kiosk are changing this paradigm with industry-leading technology that is powerful, modular and built for large-scale operations across thousands of locations.  

Getting started with deli kiosks

For those seeking a grocery store technology upgrade that will boost ROI and improve the customer experience, Aila’s deli kiosk solution can help. We’re already elevating the grocery shopping experience at Stop & Shop & Giant Foods (Ahold), as well as ShopRite (Wakefern) locations across the country. Additionally, the Interactive Kiosk is being used for price checking, product recommendations, self-checkout, and more at leading grocery stores around the world. 


Read our deli ordering case study to learn more:

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