While so much attention is focused around online communications, the reality is that physical contact with prospective buyers is still an important part of the overall customer experience. This has led to a number of big brands experimenting with digital touch point technology, to interact more effectively with an increasingly discerning audience that is hard to impress. It works: a recent Deloitte survey found that a third of in-store purchases are influenced by digital touch points, with one in four shoppers spending more as a result.

Touch technology is a very intuitive evolution of the existing online environment with which many of us are already familiar. For instance, many people are used to ‘dual touch’ technology on our smartphones, laptops, tablets and phablets. Retailers have taken that one stage further and are increasingly deploying ‘multi touch’ systems that can be support as many as 80 simultaneous touch points, on screens that span up to 55 inches in diameter, typically embedded into a table-top design or sometimes wall-mounted.

The technology enables people to simultaneously engage with the same or different content. For instance, parents can carry out online product searches, or check on delivery schedules, while their children play a store-related game, enter competitions or watch videos in one corner of the screen.

These systems make it simple to display far more information than is possible with print, such as product guides, promotions, links to the brand’s website, video demonstrations, in-store offers, stock availability, retailer loyalty card information and home delivery booking applications

Who is leading the way?
Premium automotive and luxury good brands have led the way in adopting multi-touch technology in showrooms, at exhibitions and in high-end stores. Now, we are seeing more mainstream brands introducing multi-touch technology in-store, which is understandable, given the bottom-line benefits. Christian Jeske, Marketing Director of Pyramid Computer GmbH – a German-based company working with some of the world’s leading retailers – reports that multi-touch kiosk systems can increase turnover by 20-40 per cent.
As well as improving in-store customer engagement and sales, multi-touch systems can be used to collect customer data, via integration with CRM systems, to analyse user behaviour and sales patterns. Multi-touch systems can also be integrated with bar code scanners, QR codes and even mobile apps. Touch systems can help reduce the amount of time that staff have to spend answering customer queries, but they can also be used as a discussion point with sales staff, for instance, to draw attention to new offers or upgrades.

What makes a great touch experience?
Of course, theory is one thing: real-world application is another and many people will have had a ‘bad’ touch technology experience at some point. So what attributes lead to a positive touch experience?

Display location – where there is room, a table-top design can be very impressive and act as a draw for people. However, where space is cramped, or if the table-top is too large, it can quickly become an annoying obstacle. Consider opting for a smaller screen size or a wall-mounted design.

Lighting conditions and robustness – look for touch technology that is still easily viewable, even in bright light, which can be a problem in stores where there are lots of windows. Says Matthew Bates, Commercial Director at Astec Technology, a UK firm at the forefront of the development of pioneering multi-touch systems, “Projective capacitive (PCAP) technology is considered to provide the best user experience and is unaffected by lighting conditions.”

Integration – does the system need to integrate with back-end software processes, barcode scanners, QR codes and mobile apps?

Robustness and consistency of touch – make sure that the display has accuracy of touch: there is nothing more frustrating for users than an unresponsive screen. Plus, will the system be able to withstand high user traffic?

Smart software design – the touch system hardware is just part of the equation: be sure to work with a system designer that has experience in handling the technology and understands the particular requirements involved. The software also needs to be highly intuitive and easy for anyone to use, without requiring any training or explanation.

Most brands are still at the experimental stage of using touch technology to interact with customers, but as it continues to evolve, it promises to become a valuable addition to the range of customer engagement tools at their disposal.

Paolo PedrazolliPaolo Pedrazolli
Paolo Pedrazolli is Marketing Operations Manager for 3M Touch Systems EMEA
3M is a trademark of 3M Company.
For further information please visit:
3M Touch Systems

Post Views: 910