Say Goodbye to No-Touch Retail Displays

You gotta love the way reporter Dan Yates of the Canadian newspaper Leader-Post recently described the new, interactive digital displays that my company, Planar Systems, and iQmetrix are collaboratively developing: "Think of it like a brochure come to life."

The digital signage solution that we are creating with the new iQmetrix platform, XQ Interactive Retail, really is the ultimate brochure for a retail environment. Customers can thumb through page after virtual page of product pictures, descriptions and other information. They can even register their preferences or complete an order—all before a customer service person has even greeted them.

But these digital signs are more than virtual brochures. They are customer magnets in almost any type of retail environment. Every time my family walks into a store with interactive displays, my young daughter starts running for them. It doesn't matter what the store sells – clothes, auto parts, electronics. She's interested. It's not because she instantly cares about auto parts, but because she's in control of her experience. These digital signs provide an experience anyone familiar with a touch-screen handheld device can immediately master and manipulate.

When a customer walks into a store and is confronted by a long line at the service counter, interactive signage provides a reason not to turn around and walk out. They have an alternative way to get the information they need or, at the very least, a diversion while they are waiting.

Unlike mannequins and other displays designed not to be touched, Planar digital signage includes a damage-resistant glass front that screams "Bring it on!" Customers can touch the screen simultaneously with two fingers to control the experience, whether it's a virtual tutorial for a product or a build-your-own-device activity.

The digital signage partnership we recently announced with iQmetrix is designed for mobile device retailers, but almost any retailer today could benefit from the interactive customer service, education and other experiences that these displays deliver.