“Welcome. May I take your order?” When we visited a restaurant, we used to hear this saying from the clerks. However, now, it became hard to hear this welcoming phrase since we just directly go to the machine, not a clerk, for ordering some food. This kind of shopping is called “Untact Marketing,” which means minimizing contact between customers and clerks. Let’s look into some examples of Untact Marketing and the variety of opinions people have about this consumption trend.
Untact Marketing became a new shopping trend
Some people may think they do not know what “Untact Marketing” is. Actually, it is just because they are not familiar with this term since it is a newly coined word. If they understand the meaning of it, they will soon recognize that Untact Marketing is a feature of our everyday shopping.
Untact is a word combined with “un,” meaning not, and “contact,” meaning touch. That is, Untact Marketing is a way of shopping to order or buy things through machines without any personal interactions with clerks. In Untact Marketing, various kinds of machines are used such as Kiosk and smartphone. It was introduced for many customers who feel uncomfortable with clerks talking to them or those who are shy when ordering stuff.
Unmanned ordering system is common type of Untact Marketing
The most prevalent type of Untact Marketing is unmanned ordering system. A machine used for this is called “Kiosk.” The kiosk is a multimedia machine which provides some visual information to customers when they touch the screen. In fast food restaurants or cafeteria of universities, there are many people who line up in front of the machine. They touch the menus on the screen and input their credit card for the payment. As explained above, Untact Marketing is “minimizing” contact between customers and clerks. Customers can ask clerks for help when they need something specific.
Beauty market introduced unmanned fitting system
Untact Marketing is used in the beauty market as well. Unmanned fitting system can be an example. The technology used for this fitting system is “AR.” It overlaps virtual image on real image and form one complete image. Unmanned fitting system is uncommon in Korea, so it might be hard to understand. Then, imagine Snapchat or Snow camera application! Seeing their face reflected on the screen, people can test some cosmetic products on their face virtually. With this system, they get to know what product suits them perfectly without asking the clerks.
For example, Korean drug store, Olive Young has “MAKE-UP Play Ground” section. In the section, there are tablet PCs in which a mobile application “Youcam Makeup” is running. With this app, people can test the cosmetics freely with no interference from the clerks. Lee Ji-hyun (26), who used this unmanned fitting system said, “Until now, I could not say no when shop assistants recommended cosmetics to me. I used to buy stuff even though I did not want them. However, thanks to this application, I can clearly see which colors fit me. I really love it.”
Have you ever imagined there being no clerks in the store?
The examples mentioned above explain that even though there are clerks in the stores, they do not interact with the customers except the case of customers asking for help. Unlike these cases, there are some stores where there are no clerks at all. The first case is unmanned cafe. For example, a franchise cafe, “b:eat,” is managed without any clerks. Then, how can this store be operated? The secret is in robot Barista. People order by using Kiosk, then the robot Barista makes the ordered coffee.
A robot Barista is making a coffee for a customer.
/Photograph by Yu Na-kyung
Besides the cafe, some convenience stores are operated without any employee. Now emart 24, CU, and 7-Eleven are running unmanned convenience stores. The ways of managing the stores are diverse depending on companies. As an example, at the CU convenience store located in Seoul Station, the unmanned system is used only after 1 A.M. to 7 A.M. The customers have to download a mobile application called “CU Buy-Self” and identify QR Code attached to the door to enter the store. Inside the store, when people scan the QR Code of the product by using the application, it is paid through the QR code automatically.
People’s opinions about Untact Marketing
Thanks to the convenient features of Untact Marketing, this trend is spreading out in diverse fields. People who are favorable to this trend think that Untact Marketing reflects modern consumption trends as well. Yoo Ji-min, (Sophomore, Department of Advertising & Public Relations) of Hanyang University ERICA campus, said, “I think Untact Marketing is a proper shopping method for modern people. Modern people enjoy doing everything by themselves. Also, the positive effect of using Kiosk is that customers can specifically check the product they ordered, so there will be no mistakes in the order.” On the other hand, Lee Seung-hyun (Sophomore, Department of Statistics) said, “It has not been that long since the system was introduced. So, there are still many machines which have a complicated operating system. I had seen some cases that took longer to order menu than ordering to the clerk. As the society and technology change, it is natural for consumption trend to change as well. We cannot underestimate the effect and convenience of Untact Marketing. The system will be improved and be more efficient as the technology develops.
Yu Na-kyung firstname.lastname@example.org
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