Over the past twenty years, touchscreen technology has become the standard way in which we interface with electronics in our homes and places of work. It is increasingly changing how we navigate every aspect of the world around us, from banking to visiting the doctor to buying lunch, and as it does so many industries are tapping into the potential of this technology by creating new applications to facilitate better customer service.

One of the sectors that has seen the greatest impact is retail.With next generation PCAP technology making high quality touchscreens widely available, it is easier than ever for stores to make touchscreen terminals part of the shopping experience. Here are a few ways they have shaped, and are shaping, the future of shopping.

Fast Food Is Getting Even Faster

Fast food wasn’t the first industry to adopt touchscreen technology to help customers process orders and payments, but the large, easy-to-use kiosks in restaurants like McDonalds have quickly become one of the most visible examples of the kiosk revolution. Because they use the same high quality PCAP technology found in smartphone screens, kiosks are a familiar and user-friendly option. While kiosks haven’t fully replaced cashiers yet, they have made it much easier to process customers.

They have also made it easier than ever for customers to customize and order their own meals, which some suggest may end up leading to more sales in the long run. One thing is certain: as kiosks become a normal part of the fast-food buying experience, they will become standard across the industry.

Self-Serve Checkouts Save Shoppers Time

Grocery shopping is, for most people, a bit of a chore. The lengthy line-ups in supermarkets are such an established phenomena that the checkout section of most grocery stores is designed around selling products like magazines to bored customers.

Self-serve checkouts are changing all of that. Not only do they take the pressure off traditional cashiers, lowering overhead costs for the store owners, they are also more spatially economical, which means a grocery store can have more active checkout terminals running.

The touchscreen technology that provides the immediate customer interface is a key part of what makes these terminals so effective: because they are easily programmable and offer a variety of choice, stores and chains can customize them to their own needs.

Point-of-Sale Terminals Make Payment Easier

Most customers don’t think too much about the technology that powers the debit and credit machines they use every day, but changes in this technology have had a profound effect on how sales are processed. According to a recent report in The Globe And Mail, more Canadians every year are turning to credit and debit cards or phone apps over cash when it comes time to pay for their purchases — a move in large part facilitated by easy-to-use payment terminals that have come to dominate the market.

It has become something of a cliché to note the extensive changes that the retail sector is undergoing in an age of online retailers and next-day delivery. While no one can be entirely sure how retail will change in the coming decade, it seems clear that the innovations high quality touchscreens are making possible will play a decisive role.