Touchscreens – when does a digital signage project call for interactivity?
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By Thomas Fraser-Bacon, e-marketing executive, AllSee Technologies
30 March 2012
Is interactivity important in your project?
With the digital signage revolution well underway and the price of touchscreens falling year on year, important questions for marketers have emerged: when does a digital signage project need to be interactive and in which scenarios are touchscreens most effective?
Digital signage is widely recognised as being the most effective and noticeable means of delivering a message to consumers and its advantages over the more traditional printed alternatives are clear. Digital displays are brighter, more captivating, reusable, more targeted, easier to update and provide many unique marketing and advertising opportunities. It stands to reason that if your objective is purely to deliver a message then interactivity is likely not to be essential. In large-scale examples such as billboards or unreachable hoardings, having a touch function would of course be rather pointless. Digital signage and touchscreens simply play in different spaces.
There are many digital signage applications where touch functionality is desirable and a few where it is essential. For example, any point-of-purchase or point-of-sale display could have a number of 'start' buttons to launch various promotional videos. This both draws the customer into the product or service as well as delivering a highly valuable targeted message. Increasingly, retail outlets are deploying touchscreens to give customers a more comprehensive online-style service. As online shopping continues to take over, large high-street chains are being forced to rethink their sales strategies. By combining the familiar 'at a glance' structured nature of online shopping with a physical browsing experience, shops are beginning to win back sales from their online competitors.
According to two Aberdeen Group reports released last year, 27 percent of retailers are intending to install touchscreens to enhance audio and video communication. A massive one-third of retailers are looking to invest in an in-store web-style experience for customers to check features, stock levels and possible variations of a product. In the same reports it was found that those retailers looking to proficiently deploy touchscreens were four times more likely to see higher than 80 percent customer satisfaction in store.
As well as being used to generate sales, touchscreens are being used to dispense information. Another non-essential, but very convenient, application is disseminating information in museums and art galleries. In any given exhibit or art installation there is nearby literature or notices describing the work and the artist. The use of a touchscreen makes for a much more efficient use of space, allowing supplementary accompanying information to be displayed. In a similar way touchscreens can be used as an educational tool. At different levels touchscreens can be used to help students understand more challenging areas of the curriculum by having them physically solve problems.
Touchscreens have amazing functions and provide businesses with entirely unique possibilities to promote their products and services. It is understandable why touchscreens allow retailers to create a more customer-centric experience and schools to find a fresh way of reaching students. It is essential to question the importance of interactivity within your specific digital signage project.
Thomas Fraser-Bacon is the e-marketing executive for digital signage manufacturer AllSee Technologies.
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