In an age when online shopping now accounts for over 50 percent of purchases, retailers have rediscovered the importance of the in-store experience. At first, many were puzzled by Amazon’s move into physical space, having watched them drain money away from stores in malls and Main Streets across the world. But Amazon was keenly aware that, as more shopping is done online, the in-store experience would become a key brand differentiator. In-store shopping remains popular, especially in key businesses like fashion and consumer electronics, even bookstores, where customers want to try it out, but also immerse themselves in the environment. The store may not even be where sales are made, but it remains the heart of any company’s branding. One of the biggest shifts in in-store experiences in the future is going to be the widespread adoption and innovation of digital signage and interactive displays.
As a systems integrator for retail companies or a manufacturer of digital signage and retail displays, it all begins with the right touchscreen. Although resistive touchscreens offer more durability, standing up to harsher environments (such as outdoor displays or warehouse use), most retail stores will want to use capacitive touchscreens for indoor use. The one exception may be Point of Sales terminals, especially if these are used as self-service checkouts, rather than staffed by an employee. Public use can wear down technology that isn’t built for a high volume of users – but resistive technology that uses strengthened substrates and is waterproof and contamination-proof (especially in QSR environments) will stand up to the regular use. Touchscreen suppliers like A D Metro can help you determine which technologies are better for the application and participate in the design stages to minimize defects due to poor mounting.
For digital signage and interactive displays, capacitive touchscreens can provide both great optics and multitouch functionality and durability. One of the more innovative uses of digital displays and video walls in recent years has come out of the clothing brand Reformation, which opened a tech-centric store in San Francisco with surprising results. Their fitting rooms are equipped with touch displays that allow customers to send immediate requests out to staff on the floor for different products or the same product in different sizes and colors.
But the idea goes well beyond providing an improved customer experience, with items delivered straight to the fitting room. It also allows the store to track which items are coming off the floor and into the fitting room, and which items make it to the fitting room but ultimately aren’t purchased. Any store can tell which items move and which don’t, but this new layer of information gives brands insight into a part of the buying process previously unknown to them. Now, stores can find out which items everyone wants to buy but don’t, and discover what’s preventing that conversion. In today’s data-driven marketplace, there is no better way to succeed than knowing what your customers want.
As a systems integrator, it’s up to you to find the touchscreen that works for the application, something that touchscreen suppliers can help you decide. A fitting room display will need great optic enhancements, whereas a grocery store kiosk will be better off as a resistive touchscreen. Ask about the capacitive touchscreens from A D Metro if you manufacture or integrate digital signage and interactive displays in retail environments. Digital signage and interactive displays are key to reinventing the in-store experience in 2017 and beyond. They have to appeal to connected, social media-savvy shoppers who fluidly combine mobile use with in-store shopping. The brick-and-mortar store is still alive and well, but interactive digital interfaces are necessary to update the old-fashioned store environment for an audience that wants more.