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Mar 11, 2013

Kiosks and Mobile Application Management: A New Revolution

Twenty minutes after educator, business owner, and author Jason Mark took his first iPad out of the box he was struck by the potential of the device to revolutionize the world of kiosks. And Mark’s right -- self-service kiosks have already revolutionized any number industries from hotels to restaurants to airlines and retail. “Kiosks help streamline information-gathering processes, such as signing up for mailing lists, making reservations, ordering products and services and checking in and out of locations,” Mark says in Smashing Magazine. Automating these processes via self-service applications alleviates the frustration customers are likely to experience waiting in long lines to speak to customer service representatives -- enabling employees to focus on higher-level tasks, Mark notes. However, because kiosks operate with relatively little, if any, supervision, the challenge for companies is how to control the deployment, provisioning, management and updating of these mobile applications from one location.

One well-known, global brand, Estee Lauder Inc., has met that challenge by deploying an in-store guided, self-service enterprise application powered by Apperian’s EASE (Enterprise App Services Environment) mobile application management platform -- on the Apple iPad in its industry to thousands of locations worldwide. Estee Lauder sells its consumer products through indirect channels, such as partner retailers (upscale department and specialty stores) and high-end shopping gallery kiosks. The customer experience takes place right at the countertop, taking full advantage of the power, superfast graphics, and the natural user interaction of iPad. Customers get a 90-second guided analysis of their needs, plus a diagnostic tool that processes over 180,000 product and other data points. The mobile application then produces a personalized list of recommended products, and helps the salesperson and the customer select the specific products that meet the customer’s personalized needs.

The manager and his staff can distribute apps with EASE without manual intervention, manage apps at the user or group level, and create a custom enterprise app store. Adoption has been swift, and user errors are reduced. “It all sits securely in the cloud,” the manager says. “EASE has streamlined the whole process of deploying and managing the app, and hits all our user touchpoints.” Sales data and feedback have very encouraging, Estee Lauder reports. Retail partners have reported increases in both items per transaction and average unit sales. And users – the salespeople – report a fast ramp up and abbreviated learning curve. “They’re able to adapt quickly to the environment,” the manager says. “And the end-customers are delighted by the iPad experience.”


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