Interview: Touch-free interaction on displays in retail

Interview: Touch-free interaction on displays in retail

Our CEO Albrecht Metter in an interview iXtenso - Magazine for Retailers/ EuroShop.mag on the subject of touch-free networking at the point of sale:

12 January 2022 | Feature, Interview, Retail Technology, What's new in Retail

Touchpoints and networking at the point of sale with Ameria AG

by Julia Pott (exclusively for EuroShop.mag)

A man in a suit looks into the camera
Albrecht Metter, CEO of Ameria AG // © Ameria AG

Touchless operation of displays - that sounds a bit like science fiction, but in some cases users can already try it out. One provider of such solutions at EuroCIS 2022 will be Ameria AG. We spoke to their CEO Albrecht Metter about the added value that such applications offer both customers and retailers themselves.

Mr Metter, how does the touchless interaction on the display work from a technical point of view?

Albrecht Metter: With the help of our CX Touchfree Units, a 3D space is created in front of the display that allows the screen to be controlled like a touchscreen - but completely without touching the screen surface. The units register as soon as a finger enters the 3D space and trigger an interaction, for example the click of a button.

What benefits do you see from digital touchpoints in retail?

Gamification, coupons and the digital possibility to take away information or content such as photos create great added value for supermarket customers, so that they, in return, disclose their data or share content on social networks, for example. The digital touchpoints open up the online shopping world of a food retailer to stationary customers. This makes it possible to elegantly advertise the web shop, for example, and to really integrate it into the stationary space for the first time.

Why do you think touchless interaction is important, especially in food retailing?

Besides the obvious hygiene benefits, this type of interaction is simply more fun than anything that has come before. In combination with unique interactive content, solutions of this kind captivate customers in a special way. The dwell time is proven to be significantly longer than with passive digital signage applications. Touch-free touchpoints create experiences, making shopping more exciting and thus increasing sales.

A trade fair stand with digital displays
© Ameria AG

For which application purposes could such a solution be used?

For example, when retailers integrate their online shop at the POS and thus create a connection between online and offline channels, this enables them to combine interaction data from the stationary area with customer data from e-commerce. In this way, they map the customer journey even more holistically than before.

Apart from that, we have already implemented various application scenarios in food retail: for example, a recipe terminal for inspiration while shopping with lead generation, a playful wheel of fortune application with couponing or a screen integrated into a shelf that can be used for product promotion by manufacturers. In general, we also offer the possibility of using our self-developed touchpoint solutions, but can also equip all common screen sizes with gesture control.

What positive effects have users of such touchpoints been able to observe so far?

This is the first time that most of our clients receive reliable data from the field. This allows them to tailor offers to their customers, but also to learn from their behaviour. In addition, we were able to prove in a study with our Virtual Promoter that the use of such touch-free interactive applications leads to higher sales than with conventional product displays. And such solutions are also a valuable tool for customer loyalty.

How can traders ensure that their customers actually use these solutions?

We now have almost a decade of experience with touchless interaction and know which contents are attractive and "pull". We work with acoustic and visual stimuli and have developed a special "attraction" mode that appeals directly to customers. This can be done, for example, by a virtual person or an avatar that beckons or winks at people. Through a particularly intuitive menu navigation, older people, for example, are also made less afraid of interacting with the new technology.

Two people stand in front of a large display on a trade fair stand and operate it by pointing their fingers
© Ameria AG

How reliably does the touch-free operation work, for example, when two people are standing close to the display? Are there any disruptive factors that retailers need to be aware of during implementation?

Certainly, there are circumstances to be considered in specific applications. However, we have many years of practical experience and our technology has proven itself in many applications. The solution works with skeleton tracking and can thus very well identify the person who is currently operating the display. Of course, there are limits when people are standing very close to each other or in front of each other. As a rule, however, this is not the case in the supermarket context. The second person would be recognised by the software and registered as a viewer. This gives you an additional impression of how many people you have really reached.

Does the solution also collect data on customer usage? What results can be expected here?

We can provide deep insights into interaction and also about people walking by. Our data can also be easily integrated into existing systems and can thus be a valuable addition to stationary data. The CX Touchfree units can record and evaluate every interaction anonymously through skeleton tracking: What proportion of passers-by reacted to the touchpoint? What content was viewed? How long was content viewed? How much was interacted with which content? The application provides data on these and other questions. We always place the highest value on data security and data protection: our solution is completely DSGVO-compliant, and we as a company are also ISO and TISAX certified.

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AMERIA AG from Heidelberg is the world market leader for integrated gesture control, setting the standard for Touchfree interaction with screens. The simple and intuitive handling delights customers and users. AMERIA technology is already being used by retailers, consumer goods manufacturers and at trade fairs and events. Many other areas of application can be found in industry, gastronomy, the public sector, healthcare and the automotive industry. The great flexibility of Touchfree Solutions by AMERIA® allows integration with screens of any size, both computer monitors and TVs, as well as tablets and smartphones, and even projectors.

Contact our press team.

For almost 20 years, AMERIA has been supporting international brands with solutions for customer loyalty and innovative marketing. Our focus is on a new form of interaction between man and machine: Touchfree Interaction. What unites us all and makes us an unbeatable team is our passion for innovation.