Apr 26 | 6 min read

Self-Service Kiosk Best Practices Guide

We've put together this kiosk best practices guide based on thousands of successful installations across retail, grocery, healthcare, and more. 

Aila Staff
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Interactive kiosks provide safe, convenient, and high ROI way to engage customers in key areas of your brick-and-mortar location. Now ubiquitous across retail, grocery, and hospitality, self-service kiosks are used for things like payments, check-in, product discovery and more. While shoppers love having self-service options, businesses also need to ensure that their kiosks are visible, easy to use, and effective at helping the customer complete their task. Even in a post-pandemic world, touchless workflows and ensuring safe distances will continue to be important. We’ve put together this kiosk best practices guide based on thousands of successful installations with Aila customers. 

Placement and visibility

Setting the scene for a successful deployment

Kiosk visibility is a vital but often overlooked step in many solution deployments. Businesses that are laser-focused on getting the software experience right may neglect physical and environmental factors.

1. Place kiosks at safe distances in high-traffic areas

Kiosks are most often used when they’re located at frequently visited areas. For example, a deli ordering kiosk should be placed near the deli counter, where shoppers are used to going to place their orders. 


However, it’s also a good idea to put kiosks in other high-traffic areas. Consequently, grocers should place deli ordering kiosks at store entrances as well so that shoppers can place their order without having to walk to the back of the store. 

2. Ready your environment

There are several conditions to consider when deploying your kiosks. Things like lighting, surrounding objects, and the kiosk itself can all contribute to whether or not customers notice or use it. 

Studies have shown that lighting can help guide customers through a store. So, make sure the area the kiosk will be located in is brightly lit and that the screen is set to a high brightness setting so that it doesn’t appear to be turned off or “out of order” from afar. 

If your kiosk has a scanner, make sure it is illuminated. Scanners are a call-to-action for customers who want to scan products, cards, or IDs. 

Finally, place the kiosk in an area where it is likely to stand out. A kiosk that is on an already-cluttered counter or shoved between two clothing racks will likely go unnoticed by customers.

3. Signage

Signs can be an effective way to guiding customers toward your self-service kiosks. Large and easy-to-read signs that are visually prominent and on-brand are ideal. The combination of signage, customer graphics, and colors can also ensure brand consistency and high visibility.

4. Presentation and cleanliness

Maintaining a proper cleaning protocol is important to keeping your self-service solution safe and running optimally. See our display cleaning guide for detailed instructions

5. The “fleet” effect

 A fleet of devices serves as a signal that the area is a “self-service center” and helps drive transactions in that area. By spacing kiosks six feet apart, you can also maintain the CDC’s guidelines for safe distances while maximizing usage.

Kiosk visibility quick tips:

  • Avoid obstructing the kiosk with other objects, such as clothing racks, or signs. Putting the kiosk behind another surface could make it difficult or even dangerous to interact with.
  • Don’t place objects on top of the kiosk. Keep items like hand sanitizer nearby instead. This will avoid having them fall off of the kiosk, causing a hazard on the floor.  

Best practices for communication and accessibility

Today’s consumers prefer to use self-service kiosks over interacting with employees. But when enterprises deploy self-service kiosks in their brick-and-mortar environments, they often overlook the vital step of informing customers about the new service option.

To ensure that customers are aware of the new self-service kiosks, there are several best practices around communication, signage, and accessibility that enterprises should consider. 

1. Communication

Communicate with the customer

In part one, we discussed how to leverage placement and visibility to draw attention to your self-service kiosks. However, one of the best ways to increase awareness and usage of kiosks is to simply communicate with your customers. 

Leverage e-newsletters and in-store flyers to let shoppers know about the new kiosks. Help customers understand the value that the kiosks will bring to their shopping experience. Self-service kiosks can help shoppers save time, find the items they need faster, and provide a range of other services. It’s your job to convey these benefits to the customer. 

Communicate with staff

Employees are an important asset in helping spread awareness and usage of your self-service kiosks. For the first few weeks of the deployment, station an associate near the kiosks to help guide customers on how to use them. While the user experience of your kiosks should be self-explanatory, it can help convince customers to try the kiosks who otherwise might not have. 

However, before your associates can help customers use the kiosk solution, they first have to become experts themselves. Train staff members on how to use the kiosks, how to troubleshoot common issues, and who to call for assistance if a kiosk is having technical problems. 


2. Signage

Signs can be an effective way to guide customers toward your self-service kiosks. However, when used incorrectly, they can be confusing, obstructive, and counterproductive to helping your customers. 

When adding signage to your kiosks, first consider whether this information should take the form of a sign, or whether it should be within the app itself. For example, “Place your ID in the tray” is important information, but it doesn’t require physical signage. Rather, this instruction should be part of the user experience of the app. 

When signs are necessary, there are a few best practices to follow. 

Large and easy-to-read signs are preferable. However, make sure they’re on-brand. It shouldn’t be up to store associates to create signs for your self-service kiosks. Rather, the signs should be designed in advanced in a way that they are high-quality and durable. 

Try not to place signs on the kiosk itself. These can get in the way of user interactions and will likely get dirty or fall off. Instead, place signs on the wall behind a kiosk or on a display designed specifically for the kiosk. 

3. Accessibility for self-service kiosks

Accessibility is not only an important factor to consider for your customer experience, but it may also be a legal requirement in your buildings. The Americans with Disabilities Act outlines a number of regulations that might apply to your self-service kiosks, including height, distance from the wall, and the mounting option used. 

In addition to the kiosk and mount used, enterprises should also make sure their app is accessible to those with visual or hearing impairments. This means that your app should ideally be operable with little or no color perception, hearing, and manual dexterity.

Want a simplified and printable version of the full guide to hand out to your employees? Download the Interactive Kiosk Best Practices Guide:

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