Making Kiosks More Palatable



Concerned that its store managers might not wholeheartedly support its nationwide rollout of Internet kiosks, Staples Inc. is pioneering a plan that lets customers buy at the kiosk but pay at the in-store cash register.

The office-supply superstore Monday began introducing kiosks designed to expand its inventory at 954 U.S. locations and let customers order goods that are out of stock, senior VP John Burke says. However, pilot testing at 20 stores showed that while customers love the kiosks, salespeople consider orders placed on them as lost sales. "If the in-store managers don't get the credit, they can treat the kiosk as a cannibalizer of sales," Burke says. "We wanted to usurp that and give the credit for the sale where it was produced."

Good idea, says Jill Frankle, Gomez director of E-commerce. While few companies have done so yet, she says "it's important to line up incentives for salespeople in local stores for any sale, whether at cash registers or in-store kiosks."

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