Lattes after lockdown


Technology has had a significant impact on retail industries all over the world, with many shoppers preferring mobile payments, downloadable apps and mobile ordering systems for everything from food, clothing, gifts and beauty care to gourmet food and wine delivery.

In recent years, self-service options have become a trend, for example with companies offering a range of self-service refrigerators in offices, stocked daily and ready to enjoy. Workers simply swipe a card, which opens the fridge to access vegetable meals, salads and drinks which show up on their credit card bill.

Fast food restaurants like McDonald’s have improved customers’ experiences with the introduction of stand-up kiosks. Botrista Cloud Bar is a Silicon Valley startup that provides self-service beverage machines to restaurant operators that create customised drinks to guests. Operated solely by the consumer, the machine cleans itself after each beverage is created.

Competition in the retail industry is driving retail outlets to meet and exceed consumer expectations, but how will this affect the local coffee outlet, and the impact of several months in isolation and observing social distancing create a greater demand for self-service options in the minds of customers?

The Vault Coffee Shop is a self-service coffee shop, bakery and bookstore in Valley City, North Dakota in the US. In 2014 the shop received notoriety for its innovative business model.  There is no staff complement at The Vault, nor any price scanners.  Instead, the system relies on the honour of customers who select products and pay via credit card, check or cash. Costa Coffee has recently rolled out a multi-sense vending machine that allows shoppers to hear, smell and experience all the aspects of the traditional coffee shop.

Market leader Starbucks is leading the way in mobile payments, in-store wireless charging stations and with their innovative customer mobile order app. The app is used by roughly 12 million customers to order coffee and food which are collected in store. This trend has earned the company >$6 billion on prepaid cards.

But it’s not only large retail outlets that are benefiting. Small and medium-sized businesses also have joined the trend. Self-service kiosks are popular among shoppers due to faster shopping times and greater customer satisfaction, combined with low overheads self-service kiosks could generate $310 million by 2021. The K3|imagine Café App is making it easier for coffee addicts to access their favourite cup of java without the necessity to queue in close proximity to others, using the app to order, pay for and track their order which is delivered on time and hot – right to their table.

Not only do self-service options meet customer expectations, they also create the kind of satisfaction that results in greater spending and revenue. E-Marketer notes that in a recent survey 71% of respondents listed a self-service app as a preference when it came to retail shopping, 65% of respondents wanted to purchase goods without going to a checkout, while 61% wanted to use an unmanned store.  In its 2020 article, Marketwatch note that the Self-Checkout Systems Market will exceed more than US 5 Billion by 2024 in the given forecast period, a definite trend to watch.

An extended version of the K3|imagine Café App, the Self-order App is now available, allowing businesses to offer full meals and beverage to their customers. If you would like to find out more about the app, please contact us today.


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