Perch transforms display areas in retail stores into interactive surfaces, allowing customers to access a wide range of product information and enjoy a fuller shopping experience.

Perch turns any store surface into an interactive shopping experience

The line between a traditional store and online shopping is becoming increasingly blurred and the two are converging to offer an ultra-smooth customer experience. Many online sites now accompany customers throughout their in-store shopping, providing a comprehensive range of product information on their mobile phones. One notable example is Aisle411, an indoor location and customer engagement platform that provides indoor maps to grocery stores plus product recommendations. Nowadays customers are getting used to digital support at all stages of the shopping experience, and they are tending more and more to use their connected devices to compare prices and obtain online opinions before, during and after their shopping run. Moreover an increasing number of startups are encouraging bricks-and-mortar stores to incorporate digital functionality in-store. Perch Interactive, a startup spin-off of Potion, an award-winning interactive design and technology firm located in New York City, offers a means of transforming static in-store display areas into interactive surfaces, allowing customers to interact with the new-style display to access all kinds of product information.

Combining the benefits of online and traditional store shopping

The Perch interactive display technology uses a ceiling-mounted lumen projector which serves as a dynamic lighting fixture to spotlight every product on the surface. The system responds to the customer touching or picking up a product, returning a product, touching the table surface or approaching the display. This interactive functionality encourages customers to touch and handle the physical products displayed. The Perch installation reacts immediately to provide information on the products in which they show interest, supplying product details, triggering film clips, bringing up the brand’s Twitter feed, and showing statistics, related products, the store map and even ‘how-to’ videos. The information shown on the display surface can be updated by the store via an internal platform. Thus Perch serves up information directly to the customer, avoiding him/her having to search online, which might interrupt the in-store experience. Perch ‘pushes’ relevant information to the customer, thus increasing involvement even when store assistants are busy. Moreover, the system enables the retailer to gather data on what attracted customers’ interest.

Creating an appealing customer experience

The Perch system is designed first and foremost to encourage in-store shoppers to look at products, engage with them, try them out, and then buy them. However Perch’s approach goes way beyond the ‘hard sell’ to offer a truly appealing retail experience by transforming the store into an interactive space. The functionality serves up information and displays advertising, but can also do much more creative things as well in order to offer a real sensory and emotional experience. The traditional bricks-and-mortar store already enjoys a sensory advantage over the online channel, but now Perch has set out to really enhance that experience with its digital technology. When a shopper touches a bottle of perfume, for example, s/he will be rewarded with a spray of the perfume, accompanied by a little tune. Just touching a digital camera will trigger a series of photos bearing product information. To demonstrate the range of creative possibilities, people were invited to take part in an artistic projectin New York City where they were able to draw on an interactive table using just their fingers.