From Bear Paws to Kiosks: Embracing the Self-Service Era!

Wherever you go now, self-service is the norm. Did you pop out to buy lunch and serve yourself? Perhaps you nipped to the shops and picked up a new outfit for the weekend, or you may have shopped online and then picked up your order in-store without speaking to a single shop representative.

You might have gone to the Anakuma Café in Tokyo, also known as the ‘Bear Paw Café’. This café offers a completely self-service experience. Its minimalistic design features a tablet where customers can order their drinks, and a hole in the wall… from which a bear paw emerges to serve eagerly awaiting customers their hot beverages! (If you’ve done this, it’s seriously impressive – send us pictures)!

Whether you’ve picked up you’re shopping for the weekend or been served coffee by a bear, one thing is for certain – self-service is the future. The question then becomes: what are the benefits we seek from self-service, and what can we expect from technology to support this?

Improved Operations

  • Self-service kiosks can increase transactions during busy periods. Most devices are now as easy to use as a mobile phone.
  • With self-service checkout kiosks or mobile apps, customers can quickly scan and pay for items, leading to faster transactions and overall improved efficiency.
  • Self-service options allow customers to browse and purchase products at their own pace and convenience without relying on store staff.

Focus on Customer Care

  • A more relaxed and enjoyable experience for customers with reduced queuing times.
  • Ease of purchase leads to increased upselling opportunities.
  • Self-service gives customers more control over their shopping experience, empowering them to make independent decisions and explore a wider range of products.

The rise of machine learning and AI means that self-service devices can offer a more personalized customer experience than ever before. VR simulations, which allow customers to visualize big-ticket items like new furniture in their own homes, are just the beginning. Screens that let customers put together outfits using the store’s inventory can also enhance the shopping experience. These technologies can boost retailers’ success and aid business growth through word-of-mouth advertising.

Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

From Bear Paws to Kiosks: Embracing the Self-Service Era! Celestra Business EPoS & IT Services