Touchscreen monitors provide a wide variety of benefits in retail and restaurant environments alike. They are easy to use, displaying only as much data and as many button options as needed to perform a specific task or tasks, whether it’s ringing up a shopper’s purchases or calculating a bar tab. However, touchscreen monitors are likely to offer different features, and some models are better at certain operations. To select the right touchscreen monitor for your business, always consider:
Touch technology: Touch technology comes in several varieties, including resistive and capacitive. A touchscreen monitor that uses resistive technology comprises of a glass panel covered with thin conducive, metallic layers. A thin space covers the layers, which touch when a user places his or her fingers on the screen. When this happens, the computer detects a change in the electrical field and calculates the touch point.
Resistive technology is typically more affordable than capacitive touch technology. It can be activated with a variety of devices, including, but not limited to, a stylus or a gloved finger. However, the image clarity attainable with a resistive touchscreen is only about 75 to 80 percent, and sharp objects can easily damage the outer surface.
Meanwhile, a capacitive touchscreen monitor is made up of a layer that stores electrical current and sits atop a glass panel. Some of the electrical charge transfers to the user when an exposed finger touches the panel. Circuits positioned at each of the touchscreen monitor’s four corners detect the decrease in the capacitance of the charge, allowing the computer to determine the touch point.
The durability of capacitive touchscreen monitors makes them a good fit for use in point-of-sale terminals and kiosks. A capacitive touchscreen monitor also offers more clarity and greater endurance than its resistive technology counterpart, at 88 percent to 92 percent and up to 225 million touches, respectively. On the flip side, end users will pay more for a capacitive touchscreen monitor than for a resistive touchscreen monitor. Additionally, capacitive touchscreen technology can only be activated with an exposed (gloveless) finger, which may be a challenge for some retailers and restaurant owners (and, depending on the application, for their customers as well).
Screen size and aspect ratio: Touchscreen monitor screen sizes range from 3.5 inches to 52 inches. The most common screen size for point-of-sale applications is 15 inches to 19 inches, with an aspect ratio (proportional relationship between width and height) of 4:3 or 16:9. For best results, request a demonstration version of the software to be used with the touchscreen monitor to verify that the screen size is compatible with the application and that the icons on the screen are large enough to be identified quickly.
Integration with other point-of-sale peripherals: For maximum flexibility and to maximize retailers’ and restaurateurs’ technology investment, a touchscreen monitor should easily integrate with other point-of-sale peripherals. These include such basics as credit card readers, bar code scanners, and customer displays; if desired, it can encompass more sophisticated biometric technologies, like fingerprint readers.
Touchscreen monitors are expensive investments and should not be overlooked. It’s important to know exactly what you want and need out of a touchscreen monitor. Otherwise, your business could suffer from decreased efficiency and productivity. Paying attention to these considerations will prevent this from happening and benefit your business in the short and long run.