Only a few years ago, online shopping looked like it was going to completely erase the brick and mortar storefront that has been the foundation of retail for centuries. But as online retailers like Amazon saw profits soar, shoppers continued to express affection and preference for shopping in person – even if they made their purchases online. The customer experience in-store has proven an invaluable branding asset – even if the purchase happens online, the store is still key to any retailer’s brand. Touchscreens are playing a bigger role in guiding the customer experience than ever before.
Inform vs. Engage
The difference between digital signage and kiosks comes down to interaction: whereas digital signage is ideally suited to informing passing traffic, whether it’s plane departure times or billboard ads, kiosks are interactive and use touchscreens. They’re used by individuals to purchase tickets, order food, or find the location of a product in the store. Whether it’s digital signage or an interactive kiosk, any time you use valuable technology in public, it must be vandal resistant, while outdoor uses must also be climate-proof, operating in extreme temperatures and impervious to the weather. You can find vandal-proof touchscreens in our ULTRA resistive touchscreen technology at A D Metro.
Many see touchscreen technology like kiosks and self-checkouts as an opportunity for businesses to reduce their labor costs. Critics worry that it will lead to job losses, but that may not in fact be the case – and it really depends on how businesses use the technology. One of the earliest widespread uses of self-serve kiosks was the ATM, an application for which we have been building resistive touchscreen technology since the early days. Many predicted that the ATM would wipe out bank teller jobs, but a study on the history of the ATM shows that teller jobs increased throughout the 1990s and 2000s. A typical urban bank branch went from needing, on average, 21 tellers to 13 tellers, but this efficiency led most banks to open more branches to be closer to their customers. It also allowed tellers to focus on customer relations and selling new services and financial products; they became jobs that required a more skilled workforce.
Increase Customer Satisfaction
High-tech fashion brand Reformation has likewise used touchscreens not to cut down on labor costs, but to shift the focus of employees on the customer experience. The company had struggled with customer experience during a period of rising popularity, with long lines, congestion, and staff who were constantly working to clean up the floor. Drawing inspiration from Apple and Tesla, they introduced projected capacitive touchscreens in kiosks throughout their locations that allowed customers to browse through full inventories. The styles on the floor became display-only; customers would pick items (and their sizes) at the kiosk, and staff would deliver them directly to a fitting room to wait for the customer.
Kiosks have also improved customer satisfaction in the QSR industry, especially in restaurants like McDonald’s that were once resistant to customization. With human cashiers and long lines, many customers were reluctant to even try to customize orders. Giving them space to breathe at the kiosk, knowing they’re not exhausting a cashier with a long-winded order, means customers feel free to order what they want. Besides giving customers the freedom to customize, kiosks have also improved order accuracy.
When you’re designing kiosks for QSR or retail, you need touchscreens that provide both high optical quality and durability. A D Metro resistive touch screens can operate despite contamination such as dust, liquids, or food. We also offer enhancements that strengthen our capacitive touchscreens, making them suitable for use by the public. The touchscreens we build at A D Metro are designed with the end user in mind – it’s our goal to keep development costs down for manufacturers and systems integrators, and keep replacement costs under control for the end user. We do that by building great, durable touchscreens and working with our partners to integrate them seamlessly with devices. Get in touch with us to discuss how we can help with your next kiosk or digital signage application.