The next retail revolution focuses on a central point: digital signage in stores can be a powerful tool for communication. In other words – “The store as a medium”, and this is how it works:
Imagine a shopper entering a supermarket and asking a screen where they can find lentils. They are directed to the right place with the screen as well as with lights along the way, and they are also offered a personalized discount on a tomato ketchup based on their previous purchase in the store.
A digital display in a store advertises a snack item with a video message, relating the content to the time of the year, the current weather conditions and the fact that it is the start of the school holidays. As a reward for shoppers to read and react to call-to-actions like these with a wave, a thumbs-up or even a smile, they are offered a free cookie from a dispense unit.
In the health and beauty aisle of a store, the indoor LED display shows an advertisement of a moisturizer with content customized to the approximate age of the person closest to the display. Now if that shopper wants personalized advice, he/she can initiate a voice chat on the display with a product expert.
The dynamic range of digital signage options available at LED Craft Inc allows retailers to impact shoppers at exactly the right time – when data indicates that their intent is high and they are at the point of making a purchase.
Why do people go to a store for shopping as opposed to online?
- They want to take away what they buy with them right away.
- They want an experience.
Hence retailers must make use of digital signage to provide the enhanced experience that shoppers are looking for, and convince them to purchase. Any change in retail will be redeemed by the people. They have to consent to it, and that will happen only if they love it. And they will love it only if they believe that they are true beneficiaries – so tailor your experiences by using the store as a medium for communication!
During the pandemic, online shopping shot up rapidly in many parts of the world. For this reason, experts believe that physical retail stores have to offer a real-world experience, which e-commerce cannot live up to. They must put the ‘delight’ back into shopping if they want consumers to continue to shop physically.
Retailers can use LED displays to tempt, engage, entertain and interact with shoppers while providing highly relevant content that is personalized, memorable and magical in convincing viewers.
How can you incorporate “smart” displays to offer a better customer experience and maximize sales?
- Use sensor to detect facial expressions, eyeball tracking and so on where the emotional state of the shopper can be concluded. If they are in a relaxed mood for example, display a funny video.
- Use natural human-style conversation to chat with a shopper and help them find a product or the inspiration needed to purchase a product.
- Alert a shopper if they have added a product containing an ingredient that a family member may be allergic to.
- Point out to a shopper that an item on a nearby shelf is on the birthday wish list of a friend and is available in the exact color they want.
Consumers provide retailers with a gift – their time and attention. How can retailers respond by giving them something valuable, by prioritizing their needs and desires?
Cleverly thought-out advertising should be a service to a customer.
By using the store as a medium, retailers are respecting people’s time, their data and also helping them with their shopping decisions. Their emotional and functional needs are fulfilled and is done in a way that does not make them feel creepy! Technology can determine the number of shoppers, their age, their ethnicity, their facial expressions and how long they linger in a particular aisle, but they cannot determine the identity of who is doing what. So, retailers are gathering information, but also valuing customer privacy at the same time. Also, customers will provide information only if they feel they are getting something valuable in return. Therefore, retailers must be very clear about the data they are collecting in order to reassure customers that their information is safe and secure.
A Fresh Approach
With the wide use of online shopping, many retailers feel like their physical stores are a big cost burden and may decide to close down the stores as an effort to reduce operational costs.
Here’s how retailers can incorporate a fresh approach to their way of doing business while offering customers a better physical shopping experience:
- On your indoor LED displays, advertise brands whose products you are stocking and generate advertising revenue from it.
- Increase sales by making your in-store messaging powerful and personalized.
- Use digital screens and sensors to collect data with which you can meet the shopper’s needs better.
- With technology, stores can improve efficiency, reduce shrinkage and prevent problems such as items running out-of-stock.
- Build a better relationship with supplier brands when sales increase and consumer sentiment improve.
- Offer something special and memorable to shoppers – something beyond just purchasing products, something for them to be sure to visit again.
- Steer clear of discount-focused marketing and offer more of an immersive experience.
How popular brands are creating a fresh approach
- Nespresso – high-end boutique-style outlets that offer consultation, gifting areas and tastings.
- Nike – offers customization opportunities and simulated sporting arenas to ‘try before you buy’.
Utilize the data collected
Data generated from technology will provide useful insights with regard to shopper behavior. Retailers must use this information to optimize store layouts, assortments, promotions and overall shopping experience.
Promotions and pricing content must be adapted real-time depending on who is shopping and the current stock levels of particular items.
- Stores can see which items customers purchase and which ones are left behind.
- When shoppers interact with brand messages, retailers can identify a route and change their store layout accordingly.
- Using the data available, implement campaigns that build relationships that are not restricted to just the time that a shopper spends in a store.
- Encourage social media engagement. For example – in a baking promotion, offer recipes via QR codes which are highlighted on the LED sign. Customers can access the recipe by scanning the QR code, and those who bake with the recipe can be offered a reward for sharing their pictures on social networks.
- Incorporate smart fitting rooms with digital displays in each room to coordinate in-stock items, up-sell and cross-sell items.
If you are a retail brand that is operating your own store, you can still use store as a medium, but in different ways such as supermarkets and department stores. Within your store, you can create immersive, personalized, on-brand experiences catered to the customer in the store at that time.
The store is still where majority of the sales happen, even with e-commerce on the rise, 70% of sales happen in stores. It is literally the last minute before a transaction where you create a touchpoint and influence a sale. Somewhat like a battleground, where your brand loyalty has a last chance to stand out between so many competitors in a highly creative way to convince the shopper to choose your brand.
How small retailers can join the revolution?
Whether your business is on big scale or small, the required technology can be set up quickly at very little cost and is profitable from the first day onwards. Whether it is a coffee shop, or a corner Mom store, retailers can activate a smart display for a fraction of the cost as compared to the revenue that can be generated from it!
Opportunity to influence buyers
With your LED display, retailers can convey compelling stories about your brand heritage and how your product came into being.
- Demonstrate the uniqueness of your product and justify its pricing.
- Assist shoppers in finding a product that is the perfect fit for them in terms of price and usage.
- Promote personalized offers, including loyalty rewards.
- Variate your promotions based on product availability.
- Direct shoppers with your brand’s experts for one-on-one advice.
- Encourage customers to ask questions and read reviews.
- Introduce shoppers to your social media platforms and show them which items are trending.
The store as a medium has a big advantage for brands to be able to test and learn. In fact, results are instant and transparent. Clear and real-time impacts of your marketing strategies can be seen. Based on these results, you can:
- Adjust content based on what works best
- Switch from paying for impressions to paying for outcomes
Digital signage has ever-changing technological advancements that require new and creative approaches for using it. The opportunity to turn almost any LED display into an intimate shopping experience is an exciting challenge for brands. The store as a medium must be both interactive and intuitive – bringing some out-of-the-box ideas to life. The ability to seal the deal between shopper interaction, brand message and final purchasing decision is what matters.