Why Customers Expect Touchscreen Digital Signage

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Touchscreen technology has long been part of modern culture. The idea of a “non-touch” mobile phone seems strange to most of us today, with wearables becoming increasingly popular and tablets as common as laptops (which are of course touchscreens as well).

Where does digital signage fit into this technology landscape?

Touchscreen displays are quietly cropping up all over the place in the form of wall-mounted screens, freestanding kiosks and commercial tablets. In many ways, this is a response to the fact that customers now expect touchscreens. I can’t be the only one that has embarrassingly left fingerprints on a screen that was not interactive…

Catering to a New Breed of Autonomous Shoppers

This expectation reveals a broader trend in the way we now shop and interact with brands as consumers. . Online shopping (or “shopping” as it’s called today) has given us all more choice than ever before, and in doing so, more buying power too.

We can be picky about where we shop and how.

Our favorite platforms like Amazon make our lives easier by personalizing our experiences through data and knowing our purchasing history, search behavior, demographic profiles and interests. For the most part, we are happy to trade this data for the convenience it brings.

The rise of touchscreen digital signage in stores fits into this narrative of consumer autonomy. Shoppers want to be able to search for products on screens and dictate how they behave in shops rather than browsing at the retailer’s whim.

In other words, we want to behave like online shoppers while in stores. This includes using screens to show videos and information at our request rather than talking to a shop assistant or waiting for presentations on a screen to roll back around.

Showing static posters (whether digital or traditional) can only be so effective as the same content is displayed to a wide and diverse audience. Even within a specific kind of retail store like a shoe shop, showing product adverts for women’s trainers will alienate the majority of passersby who will either 1) not be women or 2) not be interested in trainers.

That’s where touchscreen digital signage can be more effective. Shoppers get to choose the content they consume. The same display can be targeted to a range of demographics, alleviating the need for numerous posters in usually limited floor space.

Going Interactive Increases Speed

In today’s world, shoppers are more concerned than ever with speed.

When we walk into a shop, we want to be able to find what we are looking for quickly. Any confusion in the store’s layout or product organization leaves us frustrated.

That’s why touchscreens are embraced by so many of us while shopping. Beyond product information, searches that have already been alluded to, wayfinding screens are becoming a major player in a wide range of environments. These include popular touchscreen kiosks that are freestanding units that often deployed around shopping centers.

Interactive screens allow customers to search and find exactly what they are looking for, whether it’s a specific product in a store’s catalog or a shop itself within a retail complex. Touchscreen wayfinding solutions utilize interactive 3D maps and routing technology to provide clear and concise directions to searchers.

While the value and human factor of talking to a shop assistant cannot be overlooked, staff are sometimes preoccupied, and shoppers find themselves in a rush. When we are short on time, touchscreens can cater to our needs, whether that’s locating a product to purchase or getting our questions about it answered.

Conclusion

In a world where touchscreen technology is second-nature to us all, it’s only natural that digital signage displays head  this way to reflect changing consumer behavior. Customers are more proactive than ever by taking control of their shopping experiences and searching for their own information. Touchscreens in retail environments are one of the best ways to cater to this trend, bridging the gap between the offline and online world.

About Author

Lee Gannon manages marketing strategy for TrouDigital, a U.K. digital signage company based at the University of Southampton Science Park. TrouDigital is part of SETsquared, the world’s leading university business incubator. In the past, they have developed a bespoke wayfinding application. More recently, they have focused on advertising deployments, reacting to increased demand at a local level.

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