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Retail digital signage is quickly becoming a key to success on the high street.
With more consumers than ever before spending their money online, the battle for shoppers’ attention in retail spaces has never been fiercer.
To compete with the digital marketplace, more and more retailers are going digital in-store, and for a number of reasons, they are receiving significant boosts in sales.
1. Brand reinforcement
Using digital signage screens around their stores, retailers will obviously want to advertise their products and emphasise the stock they are trying to push. One of the main benefits of this is the ability to show certain products to customers, regardless of where they are situated in the shop, or perhaps even outside of the premises altogether.
But the capacity of retail digital signage is much deeper than merely at a product level. The most successful retailers are boosting sales through brand-centred digital signage campaigns. Using content to encourage customer loyalty to a brand, rather than a specific product, has a much greater pay off in the long-run. The pillars of brand marketing today – video as ever but now social media – are ideal for digital signage as a platform. The money brands are pooling into TV and internet ads can go further when displayed on screens in a retail environment too.
The secret to effective brand marketing is to turn brand loyalists into evangelists who go out and spread the word for you. Depicting social media streams on retail screens is a great way to showcase the positive feedback your brand is receiving from existing customers, constructing a trustworthy image.
2. Empowering the consumer
The internet has empowered the consumer like never before. Today we have the ability to thoroughly research anything before we buy and to shop around first to ensure we are receiving the best deal. Many shoppers have abandoned the shopping centre or high street altogether, keen to avoid pushy salespeople and save themselves time.
Retail digital signage makes a significant effort to revolutionise the customer experience. Through interactive touch-screen kiosks, retailers are beginning to empower shoppers and see their gratitude reflected in increased sales. The principle of giving agency to consumers was first seen in the UK with the retailer Argos letting customers search through catalogues themselves in store. The modern day equivalent of this practice is letting shoppers search store catalogues on touch-screen devices. Rather than pester customers as soon as they walk through the door, this approach empowers the consumer, making their experience more relaxed so they are more likely to stay longer and make a purchase.
3. Influencing customer experience
Digital signage for retail not only transforms customer experience, it is a way for retailers to influence shoppers. On a basic level, this can mean showcasing particular products, perhaps new stock, over others to manipulate sales. The principle is of course the same as having banners in your shop window or stand-alone displays up in aisles. The key difference, however, is the space-saving benefit of digital signage. The cost of shop floor space is ever increasing, leaving smaller retailers in particular struggling to compete with larger household names. While only taking up a small amount of space on a wall, retail digital signage can rotate the messaging it displays, effectively making your shop window larger when it comes to advertisement.
Retail digital signage also influences customer experience by directing footfall around a store. Digital screens with a wayfinding capacity can provide maps of the store’s layout and guide shoppers to what they are looking for. Alternatively, default messages offered on screen can be used to manipulate footfall with, to give a simple example, arrows pointing to a particular aisle or department.
4. Engaging special offers
How do retailers usually try and boost sales? They offer special promotions on products and advertise these deals in store. Digital screens are a great tool for this as digital advertisements can be a lot more engaging than paper alternatives through video, animation etc.
Interactive retail screens can take this engagement one step further. Developments in the technology now allow customers to enter the product identity code (SKU code) of an item and receive its information and availability on screen. With QR codes, retailers can invite consumers to scan their screens to unlock special offers which is more engaging than just citing a discount code over the till.
As retailers get more creative with this kind of technology, they might want to think about strategies where customers are rewarded for scanning each screen in their store. A large department store could, for example, offer a unique discount to customers visiting the screen on every floor of the store. This gamification approach would be a hugely effective way of spreading and increasing footfall.
5. Customer analytics
A final way retail digital signage has been proven to boost sales is through a better understanding of customer analytics. Online there are countless tools for companies to find out data concerning visitors to their website. Online marketers are now able to identify the demographics and habits of their audience. Up until now, physical, shop-owning retailers have had no comparable means to collect data, shy from intrusively asking customers to stop and answer questionnaires in store.
Developments in digital signage technology now mean that screens are able to track with a greater understanding who’s walking past and who’s stopping to engage with their content. Almost every mobile phone nowadays has bluetooth. Using this, advanced signage screens are able to collect data on passersby. Furthermore, some screens have eye-tracking and facial-recognition capacity. At the forefront of the technology, retail digital signage is able to identify the gender and age of its real-time audience and adapt its content accordingly.
This kind of targeted marketing is surely the future of display advertising.
While the high street is increasingly under-threat from the digital marketplace, the rise of retail digital signage is a sign that it is only evolving to cater for a new generation of shoppers. The retailers that are embracing this change are seeing huge returns on investment and it is only a matter of time before others catch up.
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