The psychology behind touchscreen displays

In Store Experiences


Consumers may react better to certain traits in digital retail interfaces, such as the ability to browse products via touch.

Deploying large touchscreen displays in an auto dealership or other retail store can become an important component of the customer experience. What's more, the "touchscreen" part of that experience is worth considering as its own unique factor. Offering a hands-on way to interact with info can transform the perception of a store.

While it may seem that deploying the same facts through different interfaces may not make much difference, a Journal of Consumer Psychology study by Adam Brasel and James Gips gave an alternate perspective. Today, we're going to discuss how a modern kiosk equipped with a touch display is different from an offering without one, and the potential effects this may have on buyer behavior.

"Consumers felt an increase in ownership of the purchasable item when shopping through touch interfaces."

Reaching out and touching products
The researchers, whose work was written up by the Boston College Chronicle, noted consumers felt an increase in ownership of the purchasable item when shopping through touch interfaces as compared to devices controlled via mouse and keyboard interfaces. This effect is more pronounced for objects rather than services, so retail companies should particularly take note.

Setting up a kiosk to let users either browse products or make purchases could be a good decision for today's retailers, pressured as they are by shoppers' desire to make many decisions on their own and shop independently before speaking to personnel. Building a place in the showroom or on the sales floor to carry out research may allow consumers the freedom to choose details but remain within an environment created by the retailer.

Extrapolating the results of Brasel and Gips' work, there appears to be a benefit to retailers ensuring in-store stations are touch screen-based instead of controlled by a mouse and keyboard. The extra amount of connection and perceived ownership that comes with manipulating a product by hand could be the determining factor that allows a company to make a sale.

Of course, consumers will want a good experience when it comes to this hardware, especially as they become more accustomed to high-powered electronics in their own homes. To ensure these individuals stick with it and actually get to the point of feeling ownership in relation to the products they are sorting on the screen, retailers should design responsive screens that react quickly and effectively to consumer gestures. Any technical weakness that could drive shoppers away would be problematic for the ultimate goal of closing the sale.

Image removed.The act of touching retail information may increase sense of ownership.

Mood management
Of course, the psychological effects of a strong touchscreen display can go beyond connecting consumers to one product. Sellers may also use this type of hardware to draw initial attention and create a sense of wellbeing for buyers while they are on the sales floor. A large display also draws the eye, even in this age of abundant tablets and smartphones, big touchable screens are interesting to passersby.

The content displayed on a touchscreen can include rich multimedia, which creates further engagement and encourages browsing. Whereas a long scroll of text may drive shoppers away, a compelling and responsive video and image experience could convince consumers to keep searching until they find a product that suits their preferences. Actually interacting with merchandise using a touch interface creates a different psychological effect than using a conventional interface, and it's one worth investigating.


ViewPoint Team

Articles bylined the ViewPoint Team