A Financial Argument for Interactive In-Store Touchscreen Experiences

Engage customers while trimming costs

By Stephanie Van Ness


It’s a tough time to be a brick-and-mortar retailer. If you’re in the sector you know what I’m talking about all too well. Pressure from every direction. Lackluster sales. Dwindling mall foot traffic. Competition from online vendors like Amazon. And on and on.

From Kohl’s to Abercrombie, big-name retailers in particular are wrestling with a shifting landscape. Consumers increasingly want to shop online, forcing retailers to alter their physical presence (I wrote about the trend from store to showroom here), as well as re-evaluate their space needs, shrinking some retail outlets and closing others all together.

Brands like CVS, Macy’s, Sears, The Limited and JC Penny are all shutting stores. In the case of The Limited, all 250 of its stores. Macy's is closing 68. And Sears said it will close unprofitable shops as their leases expire. In the next five years, that could be up to 80 percent of its 714 leased Kmart stores nearly 50 percent of its 386 leased Sears stores.

What Shoppers Want vs. What Retailers Need

As brick-and-mortar retail is contracting, shoppers’ expectations are escalating. According to findings from IBM’s 2016 Global Customer Experience Index, consumers are “continuously raising the bar on what they expect when buying from their favorite brands.”

For shoppers still looking for an in-store experience — like 98 percent of Gen Z consumers, according to a recent study by IBM and the National Retail Federation — cost and convenience are drivers.

Among the things price-sensitive brick-and-mortar shoppers want are easily accessible product information to help them make purchase decisions, flexible interactions and personally relevant dialogue, and convenient transactions.

What do retailers want? To cut costs while maintaining revenue.

So how can you shave costs while still catering to your consumers? That’s where strategically deployed touchscreen experiences come in. These souped-up, transaction-capable, kiosk-based experiences enable you to cost-effectively:

  • Present even the most expansive product inventory, and provide as much or as little detail as a customer requires to make an informed decision. (Speaks to your customers' need for relevant, tailored information.)
  • Offer a simple way for customers to make purchases. (Addresses consumers' request for convenience.)
  • Save headcount while helping your leaner sales team sell as effectively as a larger team. (Addresses your cost-savings objective.)

Using Tech to Trim Costs

While at first glance, a touchscreen experience like the ones ViewPoint creates may appear to be a “nice to have,” a closer look at the numbers proves it’s really a “must have.”

Here's a scenario: say you have 1,600 salespeople across 200 stores (8/store). By implementing a kiosk that allows a customer to browse merchandise, get answers to product-related questions and complete a self-directed transaction you can reduce your sales team by 1/3 to 1/2 — saving you up to 50 percent on labor costs.

Fifty percent.

Brick-and-mortar retailers — especially those competing on price rather than customer experience — are experiencing a seismic shift in their business realities. Success in this brave new world demands compelling ideas that make financial sense for meeting customer needs and facilitating sales. Ideas like touch tech.

For more information on how ViewPoint can help you trim costs and better compete in-store, reach us at info@viewpointtouch.com.

Stephanie Van Ness

Assoc. Director of Marketing and Chief Storyteller at ICS, Boston UX and ViewPoint Interactive Solutions

An experienced copywriter with a Boston University J-school degree, Stephanie Van Ness writes about user experience (UX) design and innovations in technology, from self-driving vehicles to gesture-controlled medical devices. Her work has appeared in a number of industry publications, including Medical Design & Outsourcing, Mass Device, Connected World,Medical Device + Diagnostics, UX Collective and Prototypr.