The original Microsoft Surface–you know, the one with a price point of $10K and a surface area encompassing an entire table–was touted as the next solution for tabletop menus in restaurants, the replacement for touchscreen wayfinding kiosks and a general enterprise solution that could replace or augment staffing in a number of retail environments. Sadly, less-expensive, competing technology, namely tabletop tablets have replaced the once sought-after segment the Surface was attempting to address. This may be one–among many–of the reasons Microsoft decided to maintain the Surface branding of the tablet version. In all, the ideas are not too dissimilar. A niche group of companies have recently cropped-up with the idea that tabletop digital menus in restaurants will provide enhanced enough capabilities to justify their cost. Here are a few reasons why I agree.
Even if a retail establishment or restaurant decides to put the device on limited-lockdown–the ability for patrons to utilize applications on a device for things like group gaming, posting restaurant reviews directly to Yelp or perhaps a text-to-traditional digital sign options with another display–the enhanced interactivity is bound to produce a greater stickiness in memorability for any given patron.
As one might imagine, we see a number of interesting niche requests for odd projects involving tablet-to-LCD integration, mobile-to-tablet integration, and mobile-to-LCD integration. Rarely is an effective ROI ever mentioned (which is itself a massive blunder), but the projects get about as interesting as the most wild imagination could conjure. When ROI is calculated, we have noticed interactivity is one of the main methods where ROI is most readily boosted. If a budget is available to measure and provide feedback, it is often wise to do so in the presence of interactive and non-interactive options. Not only is this good statistical analysis, but it gives excellent feedback on where improvements on the deployment and management of the content would take place.
One things I love about utilizing tablets as a replacement for overhead digital menus and especially traditional tabletop touchscreen devices like the original surface is the cost-sensitivity. Because today’s tablet market has been so hot and competitive there is a race to the bottom on prices for the hardware and ancillary components. The consumer and enterprise user are benefited alike. While we would never recommend a $100 tablet for deployment on a tabletop, the pricing options remain affordable for even the higher-tiered devices.
When it comes time to engage with an audience, do so when they’re already seated and engaged in purchasing is one of the most effective methods for driving sales, including cross-selling and up-selling. And since today’s technology allows for doing so in an affordable fashion with a focus on investment returns, many small business and enterprise clients are found running out of excuses for “why not?”