It is true that consumers are now more distracted than ever before, thanks to the vast amount of digital communication available to-hand, but those distractions often mean they’re also more receptive to the power of technology.
One of the most effective ways to capture and maintain consumer attention and engagement is via big-screen technology. Most consumers will be familiar with big screens – whether that’s a TV in their home or screens at outdoor events, making digital signage with targeted content a great way to capture shopper attention.
At their most basic, screens interrupt shopper journeys in-store, encouraging them to pause in a certain aisle and take stock of a certain product at the point of their final decision. Retailers can then choose to emphasise products that may otherwise be missed in amongst competitor items. But it is important to realise that digital screens can deliver much more than this, for example, interactive screens allow customers to explore products and find out more about capabilities or features.
Who’s getting it right?
Some retailers are already successfully utilising big-screen technology. An example of big screens at work in a retail environment is Watches of Switzerland, at its Regent Street store. This prestigious company, with more than 20 major watch brands in its portfolio, tasked Box Technologies with creating a highly engaging customer environment that was also operationally efficient for its staff.
Utilising digital technology, Box Technologies designed and implemented one of the largest-ever interactive touch screens with a centrepiece measuring more than three metres by two metres. By touching and rotating the main wheel-of-time graphic, customers and staff could open new screens, and explore the brands’ heritage in multiple languages.
Watches of Switzerland has since described the solution as ‘truly innovative, immersive and engaging’, providing customers with expert knowledge at the touch of a fingertip. It has also enabled staff to establish a more personal connection with customers from the outset, as they can interact with the technology alongside visitors in the store.
House of Fraser also experimented with digital screen use within its new concept stores which focus on ‘Buy and Collect’. These stores took a ‘small footprint, big choice’ approach where smaller format stores don’t stock merchandise but instead use large format touchscreens and computers to order products. Items are then delivered the following day to either the customer’s home or to the store for collection, giving shoppers direct access to over 1,000 brands stocked on House of Fraser’s website. The result is ‘the ultimate customer experience’ – an assisted sales service offered within a relaxed shopping environment.
Meanwhile, a leading furniture chain, DFS, is also using a combination of digital signage and accompanying tablets for store staff to enhance the customer experience. This means that customers interested in a piece of furniture in a particular colour that’s not on display in-store, can be presented with a life-size image to help them make their decision. Employees simply find the item on their tablet and ‘flick’ the image onto the nearest digital screen.
Customisation also presents a huge opportunity when it comes to big screens. By using location-based technology – such as wi-fi or beacon technology – retailers or brands can use the screens to display products that are relevant to the customer, based on their past purchasing history, interests or likes.
Kiosks; the ultimate screen?
Then there are screens that can be used as if there were kiosks, where customers have the ability to search other shoppers’ reviews of products and also browse other suggested complementary items that may be of interest.
Today’s discerning consumers expect the physical retail space in-store to be used for more than just selling. They demand social spaces such as coffee shops in-store as well as sampling and interactive demonstrations. And they want rewards for their loyalty. Digital kiosks can be the answer here too, providing a better retail experience that is interactive and rewarding. It can be used to connect the shopper on their entire retail journey – from surfing the web on their tablet at home, to continuing the engagement with the brand in-store, on a kiosk.
The latest generation of kiosks guarantees maximum efficiency and features advanced touchscreen technology to enhance the customer experience. Customisation means the retailer and the consumer gets exactly what they want with functionality ranging from Chip & Pin payment to RFID technology for returns. These investments pay off with increased sales and brand awareness, as well as better operational efficiency.
Research reveals that consumers spend more and convert at higher rates in bricks-and-mortar stores than they do online but many consumers are tiring of traipsing to the store.
Indeed, international research by Capgemini’s Digital Transformation Institute found that 40% of the 6,000 consumers it surveyed said shopping in-store was a chore, with a third saying that they would rather be at home doing the washing up! Chief gripes from those who took part in the survey were not being able to find the item they wanted, difficulty in comparing products, long queues, and in-store promotions being irrelevant to them.
The pressure of online competition on physical stores means they must give shoppers what they want – or risk going out of business. They need to make the in-store experience as appealing and engaging as possible and also offer convenient online features such as stock availability searches at the touch of a button. It is true that many of the common woes of shopping in-store can in fact be alleviated when digital screens and/or signage is installed and utilised properly.
Shopping in-store needs to be memorable and it needs to be compelling enough that these shoppers tell their friends and family about their experiences – there is nothing like the power of recommendation to make a sale. And should they rate the experience highly enough, they might share their sentiment on social media, thus widening the retailer or brand’s reach further.
There’s no doubt that big screen technology used correctly is key to physical store success in a digital world. By giving retailers the chance to convert casual shoppers into loyal fans by delivering meaningful experiences that leave a lasting impression, digital signage is set to become commonplace in stores.
Raj Parmar, Marketing Director at Box Technologies
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