Senior Vice President, Creative Realities
Chief Strategy Officer, InReality
Experts in the field agree that digital signage can be a powerful tool, if the right approach is used.
“Every once in a while, I come across a store or venue that has nailed it, like the Nike Innovation Lab in New York City, or the Shops at Hudson Yards in New York City, where digital is integrated in ways that help navigate, inform, and inspire discovery,” said Beth Warren, the senior vice president of Creative Realities. “Or Sephora, which has expertly integrated its mobile app so that it behaves in ‘in-store mode’ with a unified set of data that can respond to individual customer preferences based on their preferences and behaviors.”
Laura Davis-Taylor, chief strategy officer of InReality, also points out that providing safety, wayfinding, or logistical help, such as a purchaser’s place in line, a product price, how to get help, or where to locate an item, can go a long way in helping the consumer.
Supporting and converting shoppers
Davis-Taylor sees digital signage as an extremely effective communications tool, but feels it’s been underutilized.
“Evolutions with 5G, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence , real-time analytics, and edge processing have paved the way for it to reach another exciting potential as an intelligent, one-to-one, dynamic screen that ‘responds’ with contextual content perfect for the shopper at each moment of decision,” she said. “As more retailers adopt a ‘store as media’ approach with their retail marketing assets, this will enable them to offer ‘smart signage’ at a premium that ties into point of sale in real time.”
Davis-Taylor says shoppers are looking for peace of mind, which involves both perception and reality.
“For health safety at stores, digital signage has been used to count and convey current occupancy levels, share often-changing COVID safety protocols and reminders, screen temperatures, and integrate with a visitor/employee app that ties to Q&A screening questions and store entry points,” Davis Taylor said. “There are also great examples of touchscreens and kiosks that offer self-service. We aren’t sure exactly what digital signage solutions will stick post-pandemic, but we know when people feel comfortable in a store, they shop more and buy more.”
Improving employee engagement
According to Warren, it’s essential to have interactive experiences.
“Anything that helps the shopper understand or try before they buy, so they minimize risk and fall in love with what they are looking for, is a win for both the customer and associate who provides them with a satisfying experience,” Warren said.
Employers can provide tools to associates that allow them to carry out their role with greater intel, either being able to advise on inventory and tap to ship, educate their shoppers on benefits, or data capture easily to build a profile they can use for future clienteling.
Incorporating video depends, in part, on the category and product dynamics, as well as context. “In some cases, video for storytelling, information, and education are helpful tools to drive shopability and choice,” Warren said. “The question we ask our clients is ‘what pain points are we trying to solve?’ or ‘how does this need to be accountable?’. Then we devise content experiences in function of that.”