Posted on: October 11, 2021
Guest post By: Ray Ko
Customers are returning to in-store shopping only to find fewer shopping options in the brick- and-mortar world than they had before pandemic shutdowns. Hundreds of thousands of community retail shops and convenience stores will, sadly, never reopen. During the lockdown, new shopping behaviors emerged as consumers embraced the ease and convenience of shopping online—some for the first time. These new digital shopping habits should be noted by retailers as they reopen and upgrade their in-store customer experience, because their competitors certainly will.
Digital signage should be used to bridge the gap between the online and in-store shopping experience, bringing touch-point information to the customer and keeping content relevant, entertaining and real time. Behaviors such as click-and-collect and contactless shopping aided by technology-driven, multimedia interfaces have transformed consumers’ expectations of the in-store customer experience and are setting the stage for a major resurgence in digital signage and interactive displays.
Don’t overlook the importance of using your store’s signage and accompanying visual displays to provide a well-curated path to help your customers find what they are looking for. You don’t want customers leaving your shop frustrated because they get lost in your store. Everything from the banner on your storefront to the wayfinding signs throughout your store—each has to make an impression and tie back to creating a satisfying in-store experience.
Keep these tips in mind:
Digital signage is proven to attract and engage window shoppers, and to successfully entice them to enter shops. More and more retailers are leveraging the power of multimedia signage on their storefronts and in-store to attract and convert shoppers, and the results are encouraging. Once customers are inside, digital signage can continue to nurture and engage them, helping to drive conversions.
The multimedia that your signage displays to customers can also be highly personalized. Retailers can now use digital displays to learn about their customers’ buying habits and tailor the shopping experience to their wants and needs. For example, when a customer downloads a retailer’s mobile app, their smartphone can interface with existing digital signage, so they get alerts related to new merchandise or upcoming deals. Retailers can also use consumer data to determine the best product or video to display on the surrounding signage.
However, remember there’s a fine line between personalization and creepiness. Syncing customers’ browsing history to your digital signage without express consent is never a good idea, and can alienate customers. Make sure you get their buy-in when creating a customized ad experience with digital signage.
Omnichannel digital signage
In today’s omnichannel world, your retail brand has to be ready and capable of marketing and selling anywhere the consumer is willing to buy. Here’s an example of omnichannel retail marketing at work enhancing your in-store customer experience:
Your customer checks the availability of a product on their PC, locates the product in-store on interactive signage, tries out the selected product in-store with help from your sales team, registers for a discount on their smartphone, and then avoids the checkout queue and pays by mobile app.
This consistency of experience across all touch points should happen without any overlap or repetition of any kind, so that customers are not tempted to abandon the purchasing process at any step of the buyer’s journey.
As you can see from the example above, interactive multimedia on digital signage can be a critical enabler of product discoverability and an important touchpoint to market brands and promotions that retailers would like to highlight in-store. Digital signage can also help to reach customers with relevant and consistent marketing messages.
Create compelling digital content
Today’s retail customers are literally bombarded with stimuli, messages and impulses around the clock. In order to stand out and be noticed, retailers must create multimedia presentations on digital signage that are highly relevant in order to stay top of mind. But how?
Managing the content that appears on digital screens is not a job to be taken lightly. An effective content management system (CMS) can help—like the Cnario platform, which is transforming multimedia digital signage especially in terms of enhancing the in-store experience. Cnario allows creative teams to make the best impact on their audience with multimedia by handling the technical complexities of managing and synchronizing playback across numerous displays, players or video outputs.
The Cnario platform provides creatives with a single, homogeneous and cohesive canvas to mix and match different content strategies across all of the digital signage endpoints involved in the experience, regardless of type, size and orientation. Keep in mind that elements in a single, multimedia digital signage campaign could range in size from a single screen to an entire video wall (in any arrangement or size, and may include interactivity). Deploying solutions like Cnario with the tools designed for creative purposes and the features to support them is the way of the future.
Implementation of digital signage in retail can make or break your in-store experience, whether for a large multi-outlet company or a small business. From the video wall outside your store’s flagship outlet to the interactive directional signage indicating where products are located, each digital sign needs to be on brand with multimedia that is synchronized to deliver messaging across all customer touchpoints. Multimedia on interactive digital signage offers a promising tool and may one day even immerse customers in a shopping experience that stimulates all of the senses while trying out products.
Ray Ko has been creating effective visual merchandising and interior design strategies for retailers for more than 20 years. Today, he is the senior ecommerce manager for shopPOPdisplays, a leading designer and manufacturer of stock and custom acrylic product.