Touching experiences through a touchless medium
Lawrence Chia
Chairman, Pico Group

Surging along with the public health awareness is the application of contactless technologies. Many brands and events have adopted them to reduce the risk of virus transmission, and in shopping malls, automatic doors and touchless buttons are almost ubiquitous. But though the pandemic catalysed its development, the potential of contactless tech goes much further than virus-fighting.

Online shopping became especially popular during the pandemic, but many consumers still prefer to shop in person for a first-hand experience of products’ characteristics – details that can’t be judged through images alone. Hence, virtual contactless technologies have emerged to fill this need. For example, the first physical metaverse concept store in Hong Kong – The Blue Ark – has been established at the Peninsula Hotel. Visitors can purchase NFT fashions and order custom-made physical items of the same design. A system called ‘Quantum Fit’ allows customers to generate their own avatars and virtually ‘try on’ their choice of items.

Another approach was seen when technology brand HP collaborated with Pico to create a virtual interactive experience for two new PCs launch in Indonesia. AR enabled users to not only ‘see’ the PCs, but visualise the products in their own homes.

Contactless experiences may also be beneficial at the operations end of businesses. The 7-11 convenience store chain in Japan recently collaborated with technology companies to test-run new contactless self-checkout stations. Like something taken from sci-fi, the system projects a virtual ‘floating’ screen that allows customers to make purchases without contacting anyone or anything, including cash, monitors, etc. As well as providing a safe and convenient customer experience, the brand also expects the futuristic technology to reduce their employees’ workload by 30%.

In conclusion, the ultimate goal of contactless technology is not to replace human interaction, but to provide a convenient and personalised experience, and ultimately create new touchpoints for users.

The complete version of the article above was first published in Headline Finance on 6 April 2022 (in Chinese only).

Headline Finance has granted Pico permission to publish the article on all online and offline communications channels operated by Pico, as well as the channels of all our subsidiaries and affiliates.

Source: Headline Finance (webpage version), 6 April 2022