Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Convenience Store Decisions thinks the time is right for kiosks, cites unrealistic deployment plans

Now I'm as much of an industry cheerleader as anybody else, but every now and again I'll run across something so blatently wrong that I have to say something. Such is the case with this article from Convenience Store Decisions. Pointing out that kiosk-based transactions have been posting strong gains over the last few years, the article lets loose with this gem:
Generally, the A-to-Z process from concept to actual rollout can happen in less than two months. In addition, a retaler can generally expect to generate paybacks on capitalemployedin two years or less.
Are you kidding me? Most kiosk hardware vendors could hardly get a reasonable quantity of equipment out the door in that time frame, and that's assuming that the customer doesn't want any custom work done.

Things are even worse on the software side. Even with a reasonable number of developers running at full tilt, it's unlikely that a company could develop, QA, user test and deploy any kind of complex kiosk application in that time span.

Throw in a few extra weeks for system testing, packaging, shipping, and installation, and it almost seems like you'd have to send the kiosks out before they were built in order to meet a two month deadline.

So unless your kiosk business model involves off-the-shelf hardware and software that has already been tested for self-service use, and you have an in-house logistics staff (or one that you've worked with extensively before) to handle shipping and receiving, I'd say that a two month start-to-finish is almost certainly an unrealistic deadline.

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