Maximising Up Time
in a Micro Market

One of the challenges with a micro-market is that you earn no revenue if the kiosk is unable to process checkout transactions. In a vending bank you may lose one machine at a time, but in a micro-market you can land up with zero revenue if there is a problem with your checkout terminal.

Some of the reasons that your terminal could go down are:
  • Power issue at the point of sale.
  • Lack of internet connectivity (if your kiosk does not have an offline mode).
  • Software problems from your kiosk supplier.
  • Frozen touch screen or barcode scanner.
  • Database error meaning that items cannot be scanned or priced correctly.
  • Internet abuse at the customer over-extending your data plan.

These are some of the defensive measures you can take to reduce downtime as much as possible:
  • Pay for a 24-7 support service and post contact details clearly on the kiosk in multiple places. Do not try and hide away with hard to find contact details.
  • Get your route operators in the habit of doing a test transaction every time they are at the location.
  • Have multiple checkout options in your market for redundancy. You can even use redundant internet connections if the site is big enough.
  • Offer a mobile checkout app as an alternative to the kiosk.
  • Check your sales through the day and compare to expected sales so that you can proactively identify an issue and get to the site on your time.
  • Install a pinging service or learn your kiosk backend so that you can tell quickly if a kiosk is offline from a remote location before driving to the customer.
  • Request your client to install a fixed line internet connection if mobile internet service is unreliable.
  • Track your internet use with a good software tool and lockdown access to your services only. (No video streaming on your dime).
  • If you are using client internet make sure that you are aware of any network changes on their end. They may have closed a port on their firewall which you need for your kiosk provider.
  • Select a kiosk service provider with an excellent 24-7 support team.

When arriving at the site, it is very useful to test if your internet line may be disconnecting. Here is a practical step if you are familiar with a laptop…
  1. Plug your laptop directly into the same internet router as the kiosk
  2. Push windows key and R on your keyboard
  3. Type CMD and ENTER
  4. Type ping -t

If you see a continuous flow of data packets then you know that your laptop was able to get internet access and the kiosk should be able to access the internet as well. If the ping lines are not continuous then you may have a connection challenge. If you see no data packets then you have no internet connection.

Good luck keeping your micro markets running 24-7.

Stevie G
Loyalty Markets Technical Support

The Canadian Automatic Merchandising Association