12. January 2022 | Interview, Leading Voices, Retail Technology, What´s new in Retail

Touchpoints and POS integration by Ameria AG

by Julia Pott (exclusively for EuroCIS.mag)

A man in a suit looks at the camera

Albrecht Metter, CEO of Ameria AG // © Ameria AG

Displays that offer touchless operation – what sounds like science fiction is already reality that users can try out in several cases. Ameria AG is a provider that will feature these types of solutions at EuroCIS 2022. We talked with CEO Albrecht Metter about the added benefits of the applications for both customers and retailers.

Mr. Metter, how does the technology behind touchless interaction for retail displays work?

Albrecht Metter: Our CX Touchfree solution creates a 3D zone in front of the display that allows users to control the screen just like a touch screen – but without having to touch the screen surface. The units identify a finger inside the 3D zone and trigger an interaction such as the click of a button, for example.

What are the benefits of digital touchpoints for retailers?

Gamification, coupons, and the digital option of obtaining information or content such as photos to go, are major benefits for supermarket customers, prompting them to provide their data or share content on social media. Digital touchpoints make the online options of a grocery retailer accessible to brick-and-mortar consumers. It’s an elegant way to advertise an online store and truly integrate it into the brick-and-mortar setting.

Why is contact-free interaction so important in food retail from your perspective?

Apart from the obvious hygienic benefits, this type of interaction is simply far more fun than anything that came before. Along with unique interactive content, these solutions have a special way of captivating customers. They have been proven to result in increased dwell times compared with passive digital signage applications. Touchless touchpoints create experiences, make shopping more exciting and increase sales in the process.

An exhibition stand with digital displays

© Ameria AG

What are the applications of this solution?

When retailers integrate their retail POS with their eCommerce store, they connect their offline and online channels. This allows companies to combine data from brick-and-mortar store interactions with customer data from their eCommerce platform, facilitating a more integrated customer journey than in the past.

We have already implemented several applications in the food retail sector: examples include a terminal that features recipes for inspiration, incorporating effective lead generation as customers shop, interactive spin-a-wheel games with coupons or integrated shelf screens for product advertising and promotions of product manufacturers. We offer our propriety touchpoint solutions but can also retrofit existing touch screens to include gesture control, turning them into interactive touchfree interfaces.

What benefits have touchpoint users noted so far?

This is the first time most of our clients receive authoritative data at the sales floor level. This enables them to personalize content, offers, and services for their customers, but also allows them to learn from their behavior and interactions. Our Virtual Promoter study has also shown that the use of touchfree interactive applications leads to higher sales compared to traditional retail product displays. What’s more, the solutions are a valuable tool to build and maintain customer loyalty.

How can retailers entice their customers to use these solutions?

We have nearly a decade of experience with touchfree interaction, which means we know all about attractive content that “draws people in”. We use acoustic and visual stimuli and have developed a special “attraction” mode that appeals to customers. This can be a virtual person or an avatar that winks at or beckons customers to approach. Highly intuitive menu navigation also makes older people less afraid to interact 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 reliable is contactless operation when two people are standing closely in front of the display? Are there any interference factors that retailers must consider when planning a system implementation?

You must always take the respective circumstances of the specific applications into account. Having said that, we have many years of practical experience in this area, and our technology has been successful in various implementations. The solution uses skeletal tracking, which is excellent in identifying the person who currently operates the display. Of course, there are certain limits in this setting when people are standing very close to each other or too closely in front of each other. However, this is generally not the case in a supermarket context. The software would identify the second person and acknowledge him or her as a bystander. This also allows retailers to see the actual number of persons they reached.

Does the solution collect data on customer usage? What results can retailers expect to see in this case?

We can deliver valuable insights into the interaction and passing customers. Our data can also be easily integrated into existing systems, thus adding value to brick-and-mortar retail data. Thanks to skeletal tracking, the CX Touchfree solution can capture and analyze interactions anonymously: What percentage of passersby responded to the touchpoint? What content did they view and for how long? How much interaction was prompted by the respective content? The application provides data to answer these and many other questions. Data security and data privacy have always been very important to us: Our solution fully complies with the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Our company is also ISO and TISAX certified.

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