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Las Vegas 2013. Touch Me, Swipe Me, Pinch Me or Leave Me

by Neil Webster

Steve Jobs and Apple have given a lot to the world, none of which is going to be re-covered here.

Of all the great things they have done though, that which will have the biggest impact on retail environments is surely how people now interact with products. Touch, swipe and pinch have become so ingrained and almost instinctive to so many of us that they are expected to be present in just about everything we do.

At the recent Digital Signage Expo in Las Vegas there was a lot to be impressed by from a signage perspective. All the major players were there, showcasing their latest, greatest and most certainly very impressive products. One of the standouts being the ultra high definition screen technologies that display image quality almost too good to be true.

However, the stands or displays that managed to acquire that most valuable of trade show commodities, booth dwell time, all had one thing in common – Interactivity. And it is in this aspect of digital signage that the future success of a retail environment appears to lie.

By way of demonstration, a few days ago I was in one of the major consumer electronics retailers, again looking at the impressive range of screen technologies. A few meters away from me were a Mother with two children, around 8 and 4, checking out the televisions and the one that caught their eye was not just any television, but one that looked like it could cost more than a small car.

Within the first few seconds of seeing the TV the youngest child walked up to it with wide eyes and, to his mother’s horror, touched the screen. Nothing happened. Instant disengagement.

He turned around and said to his brother “this one doesn’t work properly lets go play on the iPads” and off the whole family went.

And in that example seems to lie the untapped well for traditional retailers. The goal is obviously not to be interactive; the goal is engagement and conversion.

Things that are now possible in so many new ways through our now instinctive actions of touch, swipe and pinch.

The show certainly demonstrated many ways in which this could be achieved and if you are interested in seeing some more pictures and video please get in touch at

This article was published on Wednesday 27 March, 2013.
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