There are Millions of Kiosks Across Asia, But There Still Aren’t Enough to Meet Shoppers’ (and Retailers’) Needs

A rise in omnichannel delivery models has ignited more interest in kiosk technology and innovation, creating new and exciting opportunities for OEMs operating across Asia Pacific.

A woman uses contactless pay at a kiosk
by Mike Withers
July 08, 2021

According to Bain & Company, Asia Pacific (APAC) generates about three quarters of the retail industry’s growth globally. This trend is expected to continue with e-commerce playing a key role through intermediaries, marketplaces, and delivery platforms, and social media services becoming main growth drivers.

However, it’s also an interesting time for the kiosk marketplace in Asia, in particular for vendors supporting retail activities across the region.

There has been an injection of innovation in this space in recent years, and it’s more than just the quantity of kiosks popping up across the region that’s leading to a predicted CAGR growth rate of 26% between 2017 and 2023 (e.g. 200 Warung Pintar smart kiosks appearing on the streets of Jakarta, raising $4 million dollars in one of its first seed rounds). The tremendous range of use cases – from retail and electronics vending to live transit feeds, advertising, emergency notifications, and free unlimited Wi-Fi access to users – is also fuelling the excitement and flurried investments by companies of all sizes, across all industries.

Despite e-commerce playing a key role in the Asian retail sector’s growth, physical stores will remain a critical part of the shopping journey. More “click-and-collect” or buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) options will become the norm, ushering in the need for kiosks that can expedite handoffs. And retailers who want to facilitate faster and easier returns processes will likely turn to kiosks to offer shoppers greater flexibility and speed, alongside reduced face-to-face contact. Enabling these innovative, yet now fundamental, shopping experiences will be essential for retailers seeking to keep shoppers informed and connected. Therefore, providing kiosk solutions that enable efficient ordering, stock visibility, access to product information, and easier collection and returns will be an ideal way for original equipment manufacturers (OEM) to take advantage of both consumer and retailer demand for safe, efficient and frictionless shopping transactions.

Rebuild and capitalise

2021 looks to be a good year for kiosk OEMS to capitalise on the opportunities that have arisen in the wake of the pandemic as Asia has embraced the on-demand economy’s value proposition. Integrating kiosks into a strong omnichannel strategy supports changing consumer behaviour and makes it easier to put both the technology and operations in place to meet customers where they are — and accommodate the many new ways in which they want to shop. Ultimately, consumers want their lives to be as simple as possible. Kiosks are the perfect solution. They also increase the average transaction value by 30% and decrease wait times during pickup and return transactions, therefore retaining customers. And around 80% of customers would rather use a kiosk at busy times.

Several retailers in Asia have also begun to reinvest in unmanned store technology again after a lacklustre trial period in 2018. Silicon Valley start-up AiFi ran a few successful unmanned store trials from Europe to China with upcoming plans for another 330 this year. And cashless payments have become more popular due to social distancing during the pandemic, alongside 5G internet connectivity to further enhance and power the automation of a shopping journey.

DKSH – an organisation that helps companies to grow their business in Asia and beyond – believes the future depends on agility and the ability to adapt to meet shifting market conditions, saying: “The strategies for future success for retailers in Asia will be very different from those that powered the industry’s historical progress: what got us here will not keep us here. It is important to be agile, have a mindset flexible enough to shift and pivot when required.”

How Zebra Can Help OEMs in Asia Take Advantage of These Trends

We have built many long-term relationships with our OEM customers across APAC over the last 50+ years, and we are working with multiple OEMs to help them maximise new opportunities in the kiosk market, specifically. They want to help their customers across the globe respond to – and prosper from – shifting consumer demand and have leveraged both our technical know-how and broad product range to customise OEM products that fit their clients’ standards and bespoke requirements.

If you want to tap into emerging kiosk opportunities across APAC, I encourage you to get in touch with a local Zebra representative to discuss your requirements. Or you can use our online product selector tool to find the technology components needed to deliver the innovative technology solutions needed to drive continued retail growth.

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Mike Withers
Mike Withers has over 30 years of experience as a Sales Director, Sales Operations Director and Finance Director in the IT industry and is skilled in mobile computing, enterprise software, sales, partner management, go-to-market srategy and general management. He currently serves as the OEM Sales Director for Zebra Technologies in APAC.
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