How to Make Your Kiosk Software Project a Success – Part 1 Planning

In this short series on how to make your kiosk software project a success I’m going to focus on the development aspects of planning and launching a successful kiosk project.

RedSwimmer has been developing custom kiosk software since 2007 with an emphasis on retail and unattended payment applications.

Since our background is in kiosk software development, this series will focus on the planning and development of your kiosk software, but also touch a little on the hardware side.

The first article in this two-part series will focus on the initial planning of your kiosk software and the second article will focus on the execution.


Step 1: Defining You Goals Upfront

Before you get started developing your kiosk software you’ll want to define your goals and your criteria for measuring success.  Since you’re investing in a self-service solution you should decide early on what you expect to get out of it.

Example goals might include:

  • Reducing customer wait times by X
  • Increasing sales/donations/etc… by Y
  • Lowering labor costs by Z
  • etc…

Notice all of these examples have specific goals to make it easier to measure success.

Without specific goals it will be difficult to know if your kiosks are living up to your expectations and if they are ultimately providing a good ROI.

Step 2: Determining Your Budget

Developing a budget for your kiosk project early on will be critical so that you have realistic expectations of what you can afford.  Kiosks and custom kiosk software can add up quickly and defining your budget early on will help ensure that you’re allocating your resources wisely.

Free-standing kiosks are costly but are necessary for housing payment devices.  They’re also are great for grabbing customers attention because of their floor presence.

Tablet and wall mounted kiosks are less expensive and use less floor space, but are limited in the number of payment devices you can attach due to their small form factor.

Learn more about the costs of a custom kiosk software project.

Step 3: Finding the Right Partners

A decision you’ll need to make early on is what form factor to use for your kiosks (free-standing, wall mounted, etc…).  We have relationships with kiosk hardware manufacturers and can help you get a quote for your hardware.

You’re going to want to work with a software development firm who specializes in custom kiosk software.

If your kiosks will be accepting payments, then the development firm will also need to be experienced with integrating payment devices or use a kiosk software like KioskSimple that makes it easy to integrate popular payment devices.

If you’re processing credit card payments then you’ll also need a payment gateway (Authorize.Net, PayPal, FirstData, etc…).

If you need your kiosks to integrate with 3rd party accounting or inventory systems then you’ll need a development firm with integration experience.  It’s not uncommon for our clients to want to sync customer bills from a 3rd party system and make them payable on their kiosks.  Then once the bill has been paid automatically push back the transaction details in real-time.

There are a lot of moving parts involved in delivering a complete kiosk solution, so it’s critical that you find the right partners if you expect to make your kiosk a pleasure for your customers to use.

Step 4: Defining Your MVP

Eric Ries wrote a great book called The Lean Startup which encourages entrepreneurs uncertain about exactly what the end product should look like to start with a “minimum viable product” (MVP).  The MVP is then incremental improved based on customer feedback.

The advantage of this approach is that it allows you to get started quicker and cheaper and then start gathering customer feedback to ensure that you’re building a solution your customers actually want.

We encourage our clients to take this same incremental approach when having us develop their kiosk software.  Without exception, we’ve experienced our client’s vision for their kiosk software evolve as they interact with customers.

What they end up with is often very different than what they initially thought they wanted.  This is because they didn’t know exactly what their customers needed when they first began planning their kiosk project (even though they thought they did).

This is just the nature of software development and our flexible approach to developing your kiosk software makes it possible to gracefully handle changing requirements which are common place during custom development.

What’s Next?

In the second part of this 2-part series I’m going to focus on executing your kiosk software project in a manner which helps ensure your success.

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Andrew Savala
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Author: Andrew Savala

Andrew Savala is the CEO of RedSwimmer, with a background in designing and deploying complex payment kiosk systems. Andrew offers high-value, strategic consulting services to companies looking to develop their payment kiosks.