Mathew Ploude, Director of Engineering, Optical PhusionMathew Ploude, Director of Engineering
The retail world revolves around customer satisfaction. Today’s tech-savvy shoppers look forward to a phenomenal quality service whenever they go into a store and seek any information, including a product catalog, a limited-time sale, or relevant insights that can enhance their overall in-store experience. Moreover, several studies show that millennials prefer self-service options that ensure less interaction with sales representatives. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, this trend has turned into a necessity, and retailers are finding ways to impress their customers while complying to the stringent restrictions in place. To that end, digital kiosks offer the opportunity for the perfect customer service through a multimedia approach where customers can interact via touch screens, sound, and video.

Enter Optical Phusion (OPI). Leveraging almost two decades of expertise, the company provides innovative and customizable kiosk solutions that help retailers tailor their customer needs at every interaction point, ensuring a seamless store experience. From tier one retail chains to family-owned stores to niche boutiques, OPI has partnered with them all and created solutions that offer a competitive advantage while increasing sales, reducing costs, and improving employee productivity. The company’s award-winning interactive kiosks include various custom features to target end users, such as product information, endless aisle for omni-channel experience, self-service checkout, loyalty programs, time and attendance system, and price validation. Further, in response to COVID-19, OPI has introduced several new solutions, including temperature detection solutions, UV-clean solutions, and Click&Collect locker pickup stations to assist clients in establishing a safe retail environment for their customers.

OPI’s comprehensive solutions effectively engineered top to bottom, features the perfect combination of hardware and software components to address the various client needs. For each customized solution, the company provides leading-edge hardware devices with the right build and sensors suited for interaction in a myriad of environments, whether inside or outside the store. Further, OPI possesses vast knowledge in regulatory compliance, including ADA and HIPAA requirements, enabling them to design kiosks to meet any specifications. Complementing the hardware is OPI’s best-in-class software with various applications such as price look-up, RFID loyalty, and intelligent ordering. The company also has a phenomenal toolset with a flexible API gateway to extract data and connect with other enterprise systems (from the access control system to the time and attendance system), helping clients leverage the data to enhance their services. For instance, if a person has an elevated temperature, the kiosk can automatically send an alert to the access control system to open the gate or restrict the gate according to the event. “We combine the custom kiosk marketplace with the proliferation of sensor data to make meaningful experiences for not only our customers but their customers,” says Mathew Ploude, Director of Engineering at OPI.

Also unique to OPI is its focus on ensuring hassle-free implementation for each fully-integrated solution it brings to the market.

The company is engaged early and often right from the design and engineering phases, producing prototypes and refining the design to develop the perfect build to deploy and scale the kiosks. OPI also creates unique applications and integrations for tailoring client experience simultaneously with hardware design. The products are then boxed,
validated, signed off fully functional, and shipped safely. What needs to be highlighted is that the company functions not just as a solution provider but as a partner to clients providing end-to-end service that extends after rollout. OPI offers field and mobility services as well as dedicated 24/7 active support with an automated help desk and internal escalation process to help customers with operational challenges.

We combine the custom kiosk marketplace with the proliferation of sensor data to make meaningful experiences for not only our customers but their customers

Built with longevity in mind, OPI’s kiosks are dynamic and have modular components in it such that the customer doesn’t have to recapitalize after every two years. For instance, if a new model of printer is available or the existing one goes out of life, the kiosks have shin plates installed that enable the new printer to go into the exact same place smoothly. This facilitates clients to incorporate new features and components to stay competitive and never worry about technology turning obsolete. “We ensure that our products are designed to last forever,” affirms Ploude.

Highlighting OPI’s kiosk solutions’ efficiency, Ploude cites an instance wherein the company helped a retail customer with a multi-fold challenge of high abandonment rate in the store. What used to happen is that the customer goes into the store looking for the product shown in stock on the website, but in the store, no one’s able to find it in time. The customer then orders from online vendors and have it shipped to their house. This abandonment rate caused immense business loss at scale. OPI decided to find a two-fold solution to fix the abandonment rate—how to get the stuff on the floor and ensure that the customer can find the item and have it purchased there itself or shipped to their house. The company created Endless Aisle solution, which has a number of kiosks in every department of the store that can scan similar priced items. This helps the customers know what’s to be expected in the store and have a seamless experience. OPI also enabled a branch to call an associate to find the item to get it today or select online fulfillment. On the other hand, the associates are equipped with a mechanism to receive customers’ requests and whoever picks up the task first meets the customer. Further, the camera installed in front of the kiosk shows the customer so that the associates can identify who to look for. This ensured efficiency and productivity by having all the information required to help the customers even before meeting the customer.

With such unparalleled solutions and services, OPI continues to assist clients in streamlining their operations and enhancing customer satisfaction. The company currently has various pilot projects and custom solutions that enable identifying customers based on proximity and loyalty applications to anticipate their needs and direct them. With the availability of multiple sensors that can ensure a connected experience for customers, the company looks forward to capitalizing on them and create a safe customer experience. “What we traditionally referred to as touch points are becoming touchless points today and we look to streamline the process,” concludes Ploude.