Digital signage Q&A: Touchscreen edition

One way to get more people to "interact" with your digital signage is to integrate interactive elements such as a touchscreen. With a touchscreen, your customers can engage directly with your branded messages, rather than simply being a passive observer. They can, however, be a bit of a headache to integrate. As a company, you have to deal with the extra logistics of integrating and maintaining the screens, not to mention developing interactive content. You have to consider how much it's going to cost you vs. a traditional display. Digital Signage Today spoke with Raimon Chikhani, regional sales manager at Elo Touch, to get his perspective on the biggest development in touchscreens and addressing the integration and cost concerns. Q: What's the biggest development in touchscreen technology? A: The biggest development in touchscreen technology is the pervasiveness of the experience. As consumers increasingly expect interaction from digital touchpoints, in particular for self-service applications, we'll see further blending of digital signage and point of sale or point of transaction solutions. The demand for self-service is creating new and exciting possibilities for touchscreen technology in essentially every commercial environment. Q: What's the biggest challenge in integrating touchscreens? A: The biggest challenge in integrating digital touchscreens is figuring out what you're looking to achieve through the installation. Without knowing this, it's hard to successfully integrate interactive touch technology to meet your business goals. For example, a store may want to invest in a large-format touchscreen to attract more people into their stories, or a smaller screen if they're looking to achieve an intimate and personalized shopping experience. Some may even look at kiosks if they want to enhance their self-service options; it truly depends on the end goal. We often recommend that businesses start small with a simple installation and then see if there's a need to go bigger and invest in more touchscreens. Another mistake stores make is investing in technology before ensuring their website or digital content is ready to support it. A well-designed and fully-functional website that's also been optimized for digital signage will help make a good impression on customers who are browsing an e-commerce site in-store. If stores fail to do this, it can hinder the potential of the touchscreens they've invested in. Q: Is price still an issue? A: No, price is not an issue anymore. Touchscreens are not just for big retailers and have become considerably more affordable for smaller retailers. To add to that, the long-term value of the technology goes far beyond the initial investment. Many retailers who invest in touchscreen technology see a return on investment soon after. Digital signage and interactive point of sale terminals can act as an assisted selling tool for store employees. Stores no longer have to miss out on a sale because shoppers can now connect to an e-commerce site in real-time and purchase items that may be out of stock in-store. So, while there is an initial investment in hardware and software, the benefits it reaps far outweighs the initial cost.