Will feel and touch tech transform mobile marketing and commerce?

Discussion
Jan 31, 2017
Tom Ryan

While much of advertising appeals to sight and sound, haptic feedback is arriving to add feeling and texture to mobile devices. The technology basically adds forms of physical feedback to a mobile video.

“For example, a phone could vibrate to help the user ‘feel’ the rumbling of a car’s engine. Or it could vibrate quick and suddenly during a horror movie trailer,” offers Medialife Magazine in an example.

Perhaps more significantly, haptic feedback, using ultrasound technology and sensors, can add “texture,” whether the user’s finger is actually touching or hovering above the glass screen.

At the CES show, Tanvas, a haptic start-up that uses “electrostatics to control friction and create virtual touch,” showed how a finger on a mobile screen can virtually feel water, pebbles and sand as well as the pluck of strings on a guitar. In a partnership with Bonobos, Tanvas showed an app that enabled the user to feel the difference between a cotton and corduroy fabric on a pair of pants.

“Touchscreens are more integrated into our lives than ever and yet we are still tapping away at lifeless glass,” Tanvas CEO Greg Topel said in a press release.

While haptic feedback may enhance mobile commerce overall, it also offers the potential to transform the mobile ad experience.

According to a new study from IPG Media Lab and the haptic advertising company, Immersion, adding a sense of touch to a video advertisement on a mobile device led to a 37 percent increase in happiness levels, a 30 percent increase in excitement levels, and a 62 percent hike in feelings of connection with the brand advertised. Immersion’s press release stated that the strong response reflects the close “connection between touch and emotion.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of the potential for retailers of adding feel and touch to the mobile experience through haptic technologies? Would its potential be greater for mobile commerce, mobile advertising or some other application for retailers?

Braintrust
"Is it something we all need? I don’t know, but it is going to be fun to watch."
"Those of us who have a passion for customer experience know that the more senses that are involved, the better the experience. "
"Retailers have significantly larger challenges like inventory management and creative innovation!"

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13 Comments on "Will feel and touch tech transform mobile marketing and commerce?"

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Kim Garretson
BrainTrust
8 months 18 days ago

I like the examples given, but I think the real opportunity for advertising is in gamified ads where the technology enhances the game play for the brand’s native advertising storytelling.

Lee Kent
BrainTrust

Those of us who have a passion for customer experience know that the more senses that are involved, the better the experience. With that said, I would push for the use of haptic technologies to deliver better customer experiences.

And that’s my 2 cents.

Max Goldberg
BrainTrust

If it can truly enhance the consumer experience, I’m all for it, but it must be an accurate representation of what the actual product feels like or the emotion the product is meant to convey. Otherwise it’s a great gimmick that will quickly wear out its welcome as it consumes mobile battery life.

Ken Lonyai
BrainTrust

The only way haptics will be a breakthrough technology or see widespread adoption is when a major mobile manufacturer incorporates it into their products.

Greg Topel has been a speaker at our monthly HUI Central (HUI = Humanized User Interface) Meetup as well as a couple of other haptics industry professionals. Their demos are quite impressive and go a long way to simulating textures and physical attributes. Combined with a well-conceived interface, the technology adds to the experience of interacting with “stuff.”

I always state that “touch screens” are not really touch, in that touching a screen or touching a window provides no tactile difference or information. Haptics goes a long way to solving that and has applications in gaming and retail. So as the expansion of digital commerce grows, particularly mobile, haptics has the potential to one day make mobile more experiential and viable.

Lyle Bunn (Ph.D. Hon)
BrainTrust

The digital experience of screen media has just been cutting its teeth on visual images and becoming a toddler with serving up media based on browsing history and analytics. Galvanic response will detect my excitement level when looking at a product or movie trailer and close the sale more quickly and then move to cross-sell/upsell faster than someone who needs more convincing. Fifteen years ago a 3-D image would pop-out of a Pachinko gaming machine in Japan based on the pace and duration of payment. The reward fueled spending. New visuals, sounds, textures, vibrations and other rewards will be part of the personalizing of the mobile digital experience.

Ralph Jacobson
BrainTrust

As online shopping grows, the lines continue to blur between e-commerce and physical stores. Sight was the first human sense to be conquered by e-commerce. However, people still want to visit stores to touch the fabric of the fashions, to smell the fresh produce, etc. As technology evolves, haptic capabilities will also come deeper into the marketplace. In fact, some innovators already are helping make these sensory experiences more prevalent today. I think the opportunity for both retail and CPG brands will grow as the fight to differentiate intensifies in the coming 18 to 24 months.

Tony Orlando
BrainTrust

If I could have my customers smell pasta or bacon cooking when they come into the store, than yes, lets get this game installed right now. My mind can not grasp some of this stuff, and the human factor still matters, which is why I still have a job, but some of this technology is incredible. Is it something we all need? I don’t know, but it is going to be fun to watch.

Ken Lonyai
BrainTrust

Tony — why haven’t you called me? We’ve been providing interactive fragrance experiences since 2001 and the bacon smell is mouthwatering. When we added interactive taste, we became the first (only?) provider of all five senses interactively. But, as you know, as much as the technology can enhance experiences, it’s hard to get retailers to be the ones to put their money where their mouth is (pun intended) and haptics right now, is in the same boat.

Adrian Weidmann
BrainTrust

Haptic (relating to touch) technologies will certainly gain tremendous traction in the gaming community. As for retailers using these technologies for their mobile experiences? There will certainly be stories forthcoming that will have PR value but little practical impact. This will be another PR novelty for the near future. Retailers have significantly larger challenges like inventory management and creative innovation! A vibrating phone won’t change their fate if they don’t start fixing the basics in the world of Amazon and digitally-empowered shoppers.

Ben Zifkin
Guest
8 months 18 days ago

Haptic technology has a long way to go, but it will be a game changer when combined with VR and olfactory technology. It will eventually play a big role in B2C, but I believe B2B retail buyers will be the early adopters. Currently, haptic technology is reminiscent to 8-bit arcade games, but the pace of innovation is amazing and will get more precise very quickly.

Christopher P. Ramey
BrainTrust

Enhancing the experience is essential to have legs.

My corollary is the sound of your phone ringing. At first there were no options. Then there were some — or even buy a song to match your personality. Today, there are a myriad of choices and it’s all fallen into the abyss; taken for granted with minimal impact.

Grab it while it’s cool.

Mel Kleiman
BrainTrust

The simple fact is the more senses involved the greater the experience. In the hyper world of technology advancement, I predict that in 3 to 5 years this will have been something that is widely adopted.

Cynthia Holcomb
BrainTrust

Sensory engagement in a digital shopping experience will “cross the chasm” between the physical and virtual world. Humanizing the digital shopping experience enabling emotional connections between product and consumer. Haptic or human preference algorithms are the beginning of crossing the digital divide in shopping for clothes, homes, cars, all products purchased based on individual aesthetic based preferences of fit, look and feel.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Is it something we all need? I don’t know, but it is going to be fun to watch."
"Those of us who have a passion for customer experience know that the more senses that are involved, the better the experience. "
"Retailers have significantly larger challenges like inventory management and creative innovation!"

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